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West Virginia Child Custody Laws

Parents must come to an agreement on child custody when they separate. These arrangements include how they will make major decisions regarding their child moving forward (referred to as "legal custody") and how they will share time with the child (referred to as "parenting time," "timesharing," or "physical custody," depending on the state). If parents are unable to come to an agreement, courts will decide the best course of action based on state child custody laws.

All states, except Massachusetts, adhere to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). This article provides a general overview of child custody laws in the state of West Virginia.

Child Custody Statutes in West Virginia

The details of West Virginia's child custody laws are listed below. See FindLaw's extensive Child Custody section for more articles and resources.

Code Section

§ 48-9-101, et seq. of the West Virginia Code

Year Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act Adopted


Joint Custody an Option?


Grandparent Visitation Rights Recognized?

Yes, § 48-10-101

Child's Own Wishes Considered?


Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

West Virginia Custody Hearings

Child custody courts will generally honor custody agreements that separating parents are able to come up with on their own. If they cannot agree, the court may hold a hearing to decide any contested custody issues. The primary concern for the court in creating a custody arrangement will be the child's best interests.

Family courts in West Virginia can consider any and all factors that are relevant to the child's best interests, well-being, and safety. Some of these factors will be child-focused, like the child's preferences and the interest in maintaining consistency and continuity in his or her family life, community, and education. Other factors will be parent-focused, like which parent can better take care of the child's daily physical, emotional, and educational needs, while maintaining a stable, loving, and nurturing relationship with the child.

Get Legal Help with Child Custody

Determining child custody issues can be difficult, both emotionally and legally. You and your child's other parent may not agree on who gets custody of the child or what the custody arrangement should look like. There are many other factors to consider in these determinations, but the court's primary concern will be the child's own best interests.

You can consult with a West Virginia family law attorney in your area if you would like legal help regarding a child custody matter.

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