Getting a divorce is difficult. Going through finances, properties, and retirement savings to figure out who gets what is not an easy process. Add in questions about who will raise the children and a difficult process can become emotionally draining. Parents in this situation have many questions. One example is whether or not the court cares about a parent’s income when making a child custody decision. Having a basic understanding of the state law that guides the process can help you get a better idea of how the court will answer this and other questions.
What does Virginia state law say about child custody determinations?
First, Virginia state law encourages families to seek mediation when possible. This is an alternative to traditional litigation and involves a third party guiding the couple through negotiations. The goal is to develop a divorce settlement agreement and custody arrangement to present to the court. In these situations, income would play whatever role you as the parents decide you want it to play when making your decision.
If mediation is not possible, the couple may take the divorce to court. When determining child custody arrangements, courts take a number of things into consideration. In Virginia, the court looks at the best interest of the child. This will include a review of the child’s age as well as the child’s physical and mental health. The court will look at the health of the parents and the role each has played in the child’s life in the past. The court will also look into whether or not each parent will encourage a positive relationship with the child’s other parent.
Virginia state law does not specifically mention a review of the parent’s income within the listed factors for the best interest of the child, but it does allow the court to take “other factors” as it may “deem necessary and proper” into consideration. In general, courts consider income when deciding the asset division as well as child support or spousal support aspects of the divorce. It is unlikely that income would play the sole role during the court’s review when deciding child custody arrangements.
How can I better ensure I get custody of my children?
Look into the best interests of the child and ask if you can meet those needs. If not, see if there are things you can change to better ensure your child or children get what they need to thrive after the divorce is finalized. Remember, you do not need to go through this process alone.