How the legal system handles divorce and child custody has changed significantly over the past several decades, and parents in Virginia are more likely to share custody than was once the case. In the past, custody was often awarded to mothers on the assumption that they were the best caretakers for children. Mothers still get sole custody more than fathers do, but there is a shift toward more visitation time for fathers and more shared custody.
When parents in Virginia get a divorce, they may also need to create a parenting schedule. This is the plan for when the child will be with each parent. Parents can negotiate a schedule, or they can go to court where a judge will create the schedule. The disadvantage of this approach is that parents have less control over the outcome; a parent could end up with even less time than was proposed in the negotiations.
Regardless of how recent a divorce is, families in Virginia living separately often deal with a mixed bag of emotions during the holidays. Since this is usually the time when kids have more time off from school, there's often an increased need to shuffle them back and forth between two homes. Add family gatherings and other obligations and traditions to the mix and it's easy to see why parents are advised to have a clear plan in place to reduce holiday stress as much as possible.
Some parents in Virginia who are going through a divorce might consider an arrangement that is sometimes called nesting or birdnesting. This allows the children to remain at home while the parents alternate staying there. Usually, parents share another place that they also take turns living in when they are not with the children.