Residents in Virginia who must co-parent with a former spouse or partner may find this to be an ongoing challenge at times. The concept of two people who could not remain a couple working cooperatively together naturally opens up the possibility for disagreements. While the Virginia Courts allow parents the opportunity to determine custody or visitation arrangements on their own, the courts can make these choices. Such decisions are made based upon what is in the best interests of the children involved.

There are three types of formal custody decisions that can be awarded in Virginia. When one parent is given full authority to make decisions for a child that parent is said to have sole custody. Joint legal custody gives both parents the ability to be involved in making decisions on the part of their shared children. Physical custody can also be shared, thereby allowing children to share their living time with each parent.

For parents without physical custody, visitation can be specified. The Fairfax County Courthouse reports that an agreement regarding visitation can be made informally between the two parents or formally through the courts. A visitation schedule can specify different time with parents during the academic year, on school holidays, breaks and family vacations. Especially when parents do not agree on things or have a difficult time communicating, it can be helpful to have a very detailed visitation plan.

Legal custody gives one or both parents the right to choose where kids will go to school, what if any type of religious beliefs children will be brought up with, what medical or dental care will be provided, and how kids will be disciplined.