Child Custody

The well-being of the children is the most important part of any child custody action. The best interest of the child is a standard that courts often cite in making child custody determinations. In West Virginia, the courts will usually consider the relationship of the children to each parent when determining the amount of time the children spend with each parent. The courts will also consider the fitness of a parent.  Sadly, the abuse of drugs, other neglect, or physical abuse by a parent is often a factor in child custody cases. The court can make use of psychological evaluations, guardian ad litem evaluations, medical records, drug screens, and court records in determining what is right for the child. The good parent is often faced with the role of protecting the children from the abusive or neglectful parent in family court.

Parents will also try to use the children to “get back at” the other parent.  In this situation, the parent will try to deprive the other parent of parenting time/custody as punishment for the soured relationship. The people who lose the most in this situation are the children, as they are deprived of the love and attention of a good parent.

Oftentimes, both parents are good people who want as much parenting time as possible. Children are not property to be divided. A particular parenting time arrangement might work perfectly for some children.  However, for other children, it could be detrimental to their development and well-being.

A lawyer with experience in child custody matters can greatly assist a parent in obtaining the best parenting plan for their child.

Child Support

It costs a lot of money to raise a child.  Baseball mitts, shoes, soccer equipment, cheerleading camp, dance classes……..and the list goes on.  Not to mention the cost of putting a roof over their head and providing transportation, food, and healthcare. Both parents need fair child support orders to enable them to have the funds to care for their children. West Virginia follows a child support formula in most cases. This formula takes into account factors such as the number of overnights the child spends with each parent and the income of each parent. The courts do deviate from the formula in certain circumstances.  Examples of where courts might not strictly apply the formula are where the child has expensive special needs or one parent is required to pay expensive travel costs.  The failure to pay child support can lead to a parent being held in contempt and even jail time.

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