If you reside in West Virginia and have filed a divorce where minor children are involved, then it is crucial for you as a father to know the state’s child custody laws and your rights.
No matter for how long you and your better half have been living separately, it would be best if you review those laws and father’s rights as they keep on changing drastically. You may plan to remarry or move on in your life and your child may show their feeling to live with you or their mother full time or they may have other opinions and hence it is necessary that you know the father rights before moving.
To determine the child custody law, West Virginia takes different factors in account. The child custody is determined based on best interests of the child. The courts in West Virginia consider a joint custody where the children are allowed to stay with both parents for a specific time period. Being the father you must know your rights before filing for child custody in West Virginia.
The Best Interest of the Child
As mentioned, the courts in West Virginia usually decide the custody of the child based on the best interest of the child. Judges would determine a variety of factors so as to find out what is the best interest of the child. This includes the wishes of the child, parent’s wishes, father rights and prior agreement of parents and whether or not the parents are involved in past child rearing liabilities.
The courts in West Virginia usually determine the custody of the child based on their best interests which are actually the stability of the child, their contacts with parents and parent’s contacts with them, physical and emotional wellbeing of the child. These are the factors which are considered by court prior to deciding the actual custody of the child in West Virginia.
What are the Child Custody Options in West Virginia?
In West Virginia, there are a variety of options available for Child Custody and the custody in awarded to father based on different factors.
The first option is joint custody which is a custody awarded to both parents and they share equal amount of time with their child after separation. This is the option which is opted for when both the parents show their ability to provide the child with best mental, physical and emotional needs. The second option is to award the sole custody of the child and the parent child visitation rights. The schedule for visiting the child under sole custody is decided by the court and they will be informed when they can see their child in a week and for how long they can stay with them.
If the court finds out that one parent is not fit to take custody of the child and the child is not safe in their hands, then the visitation would be limited and the visitation would be supervised by the other parent for the safety of the child. The court also has the rights to deny the visitation if they find that the parent is involved in prior child abusing and may threat the child during visitation.
The Parenting Plans
Before the court announces the final order for child custody, fathers are encouraged to come up with their specific parenting plans which would work both for the father and for the child. So, father right is to create a parenting plan before filing child custody. The plan must highlight a variety of details regarding the safety of the child, residency of the child, how the school breaks, holidays, weekends and vacations would be shared between parents, what decisions are made for the health of the child, religious upbringing and education and how parent plans would settle the future disputes related to the child custody agreement in West Virginia.
The court is likely to accept the parenting plan which enables the child to enjoy positive and frequent contacts with both the parents. Remember, the more details parenting plan has, the easier it will be for the judge to accept the plan and make it enforceable by the court. It is the right of the father to mention in the plan that who will have the child in weekdays and on weekends and how the transportation of the child would work. Mentioning the holiday visitation schedule is also essential while creating parenting plan because holidays and vacations are the crucial part of child’s stability after they have been separated.
Modification in Child Custody Order in West Virginia
Once the child custody has been ordered by the court, it is essential for both the parents to follow whatever is motioned in the order and if it is not followed as directed then they would be criminally charged. Usually no modification can be made in the child custody order without the approval of the court. However, in some unique circumstances changes can be made. But after the changes in the order both parents need to agree upon it and finally it needs to be submitted to the court for further approval. Until the changes are in child’s best interests, it is likely to get approved by the court. So, ensure to consult your attorney about the modifications of child custody order and get it approved by the court before applying it. This is extremely necessary or it would be considered invalid and you may be charged criminally.