Joint custody in Virginia refers to legal custody, which means that both parents have the same capacity to make decisions for the children. The impact of this is that if one parent has an important decision they want to make for their children, the other parent has to agree with it. If parents cannot or do not want to communicate very well regarding the best interests of the child, the court will most likely grant sole custody, legal and physical, to one of the parents, provided that it is in the best interests of the child. Custody, visitation and support refers to parenting hours and the division of legal rights and responsibilities between parents.
A parent who has legal custody means that the parent has a legal right with respect to the rights and decision-making responsibilities regarding the child's health care, education, socialization, and religion. Therefore, third party custody refers to any person who is not a biological or adoptive parent of a child who has any type of custody rights over that child. In a custody scenario, the parent with sole legal custody is the one who has the right to make the primary decision related to the child or children. Joint physical custody is ordered much less frequently than joint legal custody, and in very particular circumstances.
Most custody orders grant sole custody of one of the parties or establish joint legal custody, with one of the parties being the primary physical custodian. The reason it's called nesting is because the fundamental principle of this type of custody arrangement is that children will stay in the same household. A parent who does not have primary physical custody of a child has a legal right to have visitation with that child. Unless a person can show the court that there has been a substantial change that should affect the custody schedule or how legal custody decisions should be made, the court will not modify the custody order.
Virginia courts will order joint or joint legal custody in most cases, even when the parents don't get along particularly well with each other, on the basis that it is best for the child to have both parents involved in the child's life. In Virginia, joint custody is a term that describes a custody agreement in which the non-custodial parent, the parent who has the least time, has the children for 91 days or more a year. A video on the VA Law Help 2 Go website describes what physical and legal custody means with respect to parenting time and parental rights in making important decisions for the child. Even where sole legal custody exists, parents, in most circumstances, are supposed to have meaningful conversations about important decisions to be made in relation to children.