The Mountain State can be the perfect place to raise a family. But not all families stay together forever. And if your family is splitting up, you might be trying to figure out who will get custody of the children and how state statutes might affect that determination. Here is a quick introduction to child custody laws in West Virginia.
Child Custody Laws
Depending on whether a state has adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, state child custody laws can vary depending on where you live. West Virginia adopted the Uniform Enforcement Act in 1981, which is a federal law requiring each state to honor and enforce child custody rulings from courts in other states. West Virginia law also allows parents to have joint custody and recognizes visitation rights for grandparents. And in many child custody proceedings, courts will consider the wishes of the child in resolving custody disputes.
Child Custody Statutes in West Virginia
The details of West Virginia’s child custody laws are listed below.
West Virginia Custody Hearings
Child custody courts will generally honor custody agreements that separating parents are able to come up with their own. But 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, wellbeing, 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.
More Resources for Child Custody Laws in West Virginia
Determining child custody issues can be difficult, both emotionally and legally. FindLaw's section on Child Custody can provide you with additional articles and information on this topic. You can also consult with a West Virginia family law attorney in your area if you would like legal help regarding a child custody matter.