Going through a divorce can place a lot of stress on individuals, especially when it comes to finding a new place to call home.
Regardless of how couples divide the family home, parents will often have a new living situation. And it is critical to note that the living conditions of a divorced parent could have a considerable influence on the child custody agreement.
Parents must have a “suitable residence” to obtain custody
Every decision regarding children in family law relies on what is in the child’s best interests. Courts and parents consider these factors to ensure that:
- They meet the child’s needs
- They maintain stability in the child’s life
- They preserve the child’s security
Keeping the child secure often means keeping them safe. That is why courts might order an inspection of each parent’s residence in a child custody dispute. They want to make sure that the residence provides a safe and healthy environment for the child.
Living conditions impact visitation too
Virginia courts also consider how safe a parent’s home is when determining visitation as well. An unsafe neighborhood or an unkempt household could seriously impact a parent’s visitation and parenting time. Courts might order supervised visitation or shortened visitation hours that do not allow the child to spend the night.
A checklist for parents moving into a new place
Divorce can significantly reduce someone’s financial resources, and therefore, their living options. However, parents can take steps to ensure their new residence is safe for their children, including:
- Researching the neighborhood and community
- Looking into crime rates around the area
- Getting an official inspection of the residence
- Observing the physical landscape of the area, such as cliffs or lakes
- Reconsidering their own housekeeping habits
Parents should ensure their residence, and the area they choose to live in, is child-friendly if they wish to secure custody and parenting time with their child.
The many aspects of divorce and child custody can be incredibly stressful. Even the slightest detail could impact an individual’s future and parenting rights. The experienced child custody attorneys at Bowen Ten Long & Bal, PC, can help divorcing parents achieve their goals and protect their children.