This essay provides a brief introduction to the concept “best interests of the child,” and a place for readers to begin to formulate their own ideas about the usefulness and meaning of the standard. Read more

The popular 1979 film Kramer vs. Kramer depicts the fallout of a classic child custody dispute. Thirty-five years later, bitter legal contests over children are the exception and families in dispute have a variety of options. Read more

Child custody determinations have had a roller coaster history, reflecting the jagged evolution of the American family. Virginia custody law rode on the same roller coaster, with some distinct regional differences. Read more

The dynamic relationship between Virginia law and society’s concepts of childhood and parenthood have transformed child custody laws since the American Revolution. This essay chronicles key periods of change in the Commonwealth and other states. Read more

The civil rights movement, feminism, gay liberation, the proliferation of LGBTQ households, the sexual revolution, and technological advancements related to reproductive health have reworked the relationships between family members as well as between families and the outside world. Read more

Child support is interwoven with parenting and custody outcomes as well as potentially many separation-related issues. To some extent, as married women’s labor force participation and custody rules have changed nationally over the past decades, child support has altered as well. Virginia’s changing policies closely track the national picture. Read more

The popular media have both reflected and influenced child custody outcomes throughout American history. While pamphlets and periodicals were the primary sources of information in the first two centuries of America’s existence, television, movies, and the Internet have grown to dominate popular culture in recent times. Read more