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Guidelines for Parenting Time Schedules in Virginia

Parenting time schedules, commonly known as visitation schedules, are of paramount importance to parents in Virginia navigating the choppy waters of divorce or separation. These schedules outline when and how often each parent spends time with their child, serving as a roadmap for shared parenting responsibilities.

Comprehending the guidelines and factors that influence the determination of these schedules is crucial for parents. The principal aim is to ensure the best interests of the child, which is the primary concern for both the parents and the court. At Mahoney Richmond Thurston, PLLC, our experienced attorneys understand the significance of a well-crafted parenting time schedule and can assist you in creating one that works best for your family. In this blog, we provide an overview of the guidelines for parenting time schedules in Virginia.

Understanding the Best Interests of the Child

In Virginia, the court’s paramount consideration when determining a parenting time schedule is the best interests of the child. This standard focuses on promoting and maintaining a healthy and close relationship between the child and both parents. It also considers factors such as:

  • The physical and emotional needs of the child
  • The age and developmental stage of the child
  • Any special needs of the child, including medical or educational requirements
  • The relationship between each parent and the child, including previous involvement in caregiving
  • Each parent’s ability to provide a stable home environment
  • Any history of abuse or neglect by either parent

Factors that Influence Parenting Time Schedules

The court will consider various factors when determining a parenting time schedule, including:

Distance between the Parents’ Residences: The distance between the parents’ residences can impact the frequency and length of parenting time. If the distance is significant, the court may adjust the schedule to accommodate travel time and expenses.

Work Schedules and Availability: The parenting time schedule should take into account each parent’s work schedule and availability to ensure that the child has quality time with both parents.

Child’s Age and Developmental Stage: Younger children may require more frequent visits, while older children may have more activities and commitments that need to be factored into the schedule.

Holiday and Vacation Schedules: Holidays and school breaks should be considered when creating a parenting time schedule to ensure that the child has equal time with both parents during special occasions.

Communication between Parents: The ability of the parents to communicate effectively about their child’s needs and activities can also influence the parenting time schedule.

Crafting a Parenting Time Schedule

While the court may have the final say in determining a parenting time schedule, it is always best for parents to try and reach an agreement outside of court. This approach allows for more flexibility and tailoring to the family’s specific needs. Some tips for creating a successful parenting time schedule include:

  • Be realistic about schedules and availability
  • Consider the child’s needs first and foremost
  • Communicate openly and effectively with the other parent
  • Review and modify the schedule as needed to accommodate changes in circumstances

Contact an Experienced Parenting Time Attorney

Understanding the guidelines and factors that influence parenting time schedules is crucial for parents in Virginia going through a divorce or separation. By keeping the best interests of the child at heart and being mindful of various considerations, parents can create a schedule that is effective for their family. At Mahoney Richmond Thurston, PLLC, our attorneys have years of experience assisting families with parenting time schedules and other family law matters. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you navigate this challenging process.