Family courts in Vermont will order custody based on the best interests of the child. A Vermont family court will not make a custody determination on the basis of a parent's gender. Additionally, if parents cannot agree on custody, a Vermont family court will order sole or joint custody. Parents who wish to file for child custody in Vermont should first become familiar with the custody statutes in this state.
Related: Help our readers by sharing your experience with child custody in Vermont.
Best Interests of the Child Standard in Vermont
A family court in Vermont will order custody based on the best interests of the child. The court uses the following factors to determine a child's best interests:
- The child's relationship with his/her parents
- Each parent's ability to provide the child with love, affection, and proper guidance
- The child's adjustment to present housing, school, and community, and the potential effect on any change
- Each parent's ability to provide financially for the child
- Each parent's ability to provide a safe environment for the child
- Each parent's willingness to encourage a positive and continuous relationship with the other parent
- Any history of abuse and the impact of that abuse on the child and on the relationship between the child and the abusing parent
Joint Child Custody in Vermont
In Vermont, joint custody based on parental agreements is considered to be in the best interest of the child. A joint custody agreement in Vermont will include the following information:
- The child's physical living arrangements
- Details regarding when and where the child will have physical contact with each parent
- Details regarding the education of any minor children
- Details regarding medical, dental, and health care
- Details regarding how travel arrangements will be handled by each parent
- Procedures for communicating about the child's welfare and procedures for resolving disputes. A court may order mediation or binding arbitration if there is a disagreement
A family court in Vermont will reject a joint custody agreement that is not considered to be in the best interests of the child.
Modification of Child Custody in Vermont
If a parent or another interested party requests a modification of child custody in Vermont, the court will only modify a custody order if it's in the best interests of the child. According to Vermont child custody law, the court will only consider a modification if there is a real and substantial showing of a change of circumstances that threaten to harm the child's best interests.
For more information about child custody in Vermont, visit Vermont's Domestic Relations statute or speak with a qualified attorney in Vermont.