Serving Mercer and McDowell Counties
The West Virginia Legislature enacted a Grandparent Visitation law which is codified at WV Code Chapter 48-10-101. This law states the intention of the legislature to permit a Family Court to enter orders for grandparent visitation (also known as shared-parenting"):
48-10-101. Legislative findings. The Legislature finds that circumstances arise where it is appropriate for circuit courts or family courts of this state to order that grandparents of minor children may exercise visitation with their grandchildren. The Legislature further finds that in such situations, as in all situations involving children, the best interests of the child or children are the paramount consideration.
CAUTION: Because grandparent visitation is a special type of situation and the law is extensive and requires a trained attorney to intrepret and apply in each individual situation, I strongly advise grandparents to consult an attorney.
What factors does the law and the Court consider when grandparents file a motion or petition for visitation rights?
The law says:
In making a determination on a motion or petition the court shall consider the following factors:
(1) The age of the child;
(2) The relationship between the child and the grandparent;
(3) The relationship between each of the child's parents or the person with whom the child is residing and the grandparent;
(4) The time which has elapsed since the child last had contact with the grandparent;
(5) The effect that such visitation will have on the relationship between the child and the child's parents or the person with whom the child is residing;
(6) If the parents are divorced or separated, the custody and visitation arrangement which exists between the parents with regard to the child;
(7) The time available to the child and his or her parents, giving consideration to such matters as each parent's employment schedule, the child's schedule for home, school and community activities, and the child's and parents' holiday and vacation schedule;
(8) The good faith of the grandparent in filing the motion or petition;
(9) Any history of physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect being performed, procured, assisted or condoned by the grandparent;
(10) Whether the child has, in the past, resided with the grandparent for a significant period or periods of time, with or without the child's parent or parents;
(11) Whether the grandparent has, in the past, been a significant caretaker for the child, regardless of whether the child resided inside or outside of the grandparent's residence;
(12) The preference of the parents with regard to the requested visitation; and
(13) Any other factor relevant to the best interests of the child.