While West Virginia is a great state to raise a family, unfortunately, not all marriages survive, and parents are left to figure out how to deal with the consequences of divorce. For those with children, child custody and support are at the forefront of the issues they must address. The following details the laws regarding child custody in the Mountain State.
West Virginia’s child custody laws
West Virginia adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act in 1981. This federal law requires participating states to honor and enforce other states’ child custody rules, and West Virginia Code 48-9-101 allocates custodial responsibility and decision-making responsibility concerning a couple’s children. Although courts typically honor custody agreements parents come up with on their own, the courts will always determine custody based on the best interests of the children.
The state’s child custody laws allows for joint custody in most situations, and the child or children’s own wishes will also be considered. In addition, West Virginia Code 48-10-101 recognizes grandparent visitation rights. Other factors that will be considered include the child or children’s well-being, their safety, and the prospect of maintaining sense of consistency in the children’s lives. Also, parent-focused aspects will be considered, such as which parent can better provide for the physical, emotional and educational needs of the child or children.
Seeking professional guidance
Every divorce case is different, and what may work for one family may not work for others. Divorce is seldom easy, both emotionally and financially, and it is a legal process that must adhere to certain laws and regulations. As such, anyone who has children and is facing divorce would be wise to consult with an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible in the process. A lawyer can explain a parent’s options and help him or her work through a comprehensive an enforceable child custody agreement that will align with the state’s laws.