West Virginia Child Custody Guidelines and Links
Factors Considered When Determining the Best Interest of the Child for Child Custody in West Virginia:
(a) The primary objective of this article is to serve the child’s best interests, by facilitating:
(1) Stability of the child;
(2) Parental planning and agreement about the child’s custodial arrangements and upbringing;
(3) Continuity of existing parent-child attachments;
(4) Meaningful contact between a child and each parent;
(5) Caretaking relationships by adults who love the child, know how to provide for the child’s needs, and who place a high priority on doing so;
(6) Security from exposure to physical or emotional harm; and
(7) Expeditious, predictable decision-making and avoidance of prolonged uncertainty respecting arrangements for the child’s care and control.
(b) A secondary objective of article is to achieve fairness between the parents.
Relevant Sections of the West Virginia State Code Regarding Child Custody:
PART 2. PARENTING PLANS.
(a) If the parents agree to one or more provisions of a parenting plan, the court shall so order, unless it makes specific findings that:
(1) The agreement is not knowing or voluntary; or
(2) The plan would be harmful to the child.
(b) The court, at its discretion and on any basis it deems sufficient, may conduct an evidentiary hearing to determine whether there is a factual basis for a finding under subdivision (1) or (2), subsection (a) of this section. When there is credible information that child abuse as defined by section 49-1-3 of this code or domestic violence as defined by section 27-202 of this code has occurred, a hearing is mandatory and if the court determines that abuse has occurred, appropriate protective measures shall be ordered.
(c) If an agreement, in whole or in part, is not accepted by the court under the standards set forth in subsection (a) of this section, the court shall allow the parents the opportunity to negotiate another agreement.
Parent Education Classes:
(a) The family court shall, by order, and with the approval of the supreme court of appeals, designate an organization or agency to establish and operate education programs designed for parents who have filed an action for divorce, paternity, support, separate maintenance or other custody proceeding and who have minor children. The education programs shall be designed to instruct and educate parents about the effects of divorce and custody disputes on their children and to teach parents ways to help their children and minimize their trauma.