Can a child’s age influence custody decisions in Virginia?

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2024 | Child custody

When it comes to child custody decisions, the child’s best interests take center stage. A child’s age is among the factors considered when determining what’s best for them. As such, your child’s age will play a significant role in the court’s decision if you need to litigate your custody arrangements.

The reasonable preferences of the child can also influence custody cases. However, the court must determine if the child is capable of making such decisions before considering their wishes.

Why age matters in custody proceedings

A child’s age may affect custody decisions in various ways. Infants and very young children require frequent and consistent care, often from a primary caregiver. Courts may consider which parent has been the primary caregiver during the child’s early years, as this can be crucial for maintaining stability and attachment.

On the other hand, preschoolers thrive on routine and stability. Courts may prioritize a custody arrangement that provides a consistent schedule and familiar environment for children in this age group.

For school-age courts may consider which parent can better support the child’s education, extracurricular activities and social development. Teenagers are often more independent and have their preferences. Therefore, courts may give more weight to a teenager’s wishes regarding custody, though, as mentioned, this is not the sole determining factor.

If you are a parent seeking custody of your child, it can help to be prepared to demonstrate how your proposed arrangement meets the child’s needs at their particular age. Remember, the law does not favor any parent due to their gender. Learning more about the other concerns that the court will look at and seeking early legal assistance can help protect your parental rights and your child’s wellbeing.