Child Custody

Our Child Custody​ Family Law Services

The well-being of the children is the most critical part of any child custody case. 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 and the time spent with each parent.

The courts will also discuss 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 courts can make use of psychological evaluations, guardian ad litem reports, medical records, drug screens, and court records in determining what is right for the child. The parent who is awarded sole custody is often faced with the role of protecting the children from the abusive or neglectful parent in the family court system.

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

Often, 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, while for others, it could be detrimental to their development and well-being.

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

Child Support

It costs a lot of money to raise a child. Baseball mitts, shoes, soccer equipment, cheerleading camp, dance classes. Not to mention the cost of putting a roof over their heads and providing transportation, food, and healthcare.

Both parents must have fair child support orders to ensure that the funds are there to care for their child. In West Virginia, a child support order means that the majority of cases follow a child support formula. The formula sets out:

  • Who is to pay child support
  • The amount to be paid
  • When payments are to be made
  • The frequency of payments
  • When payments will end
  • Who is to receive the payments

Usually, support payments are paid by the parent who does not have primary custody of the child to the parent who does. The parent who receives the support payments is to use the money for the benefit of the child only.

How To Apply For Child Support in West Virginia

Child support is calculated using a unique formula. The formula takes into account factors such as the number of nights the child spends with each parent and the income of each parent. Any special needs may also be considered. Once the calculations are complete, a judge will issue an order.

Can Courts Not Use the Formula?

Yes, the courts do deviate from the formula, but only in certain circumstances. An example of where courts might not strictly apply the method is where the child has expensive special needs. Alternatively, a parent might be required to pay expensive travel costs. 

What Are the Consequences of Failing to Pay Child Support?

Divorce and family law experts experience parents who are unwilling to pay child support all of the time. The failure to pay child support can lead to a parent being held in contempt. If that isn’t a big enough deterrent, jail time is an option if the issue escalates.