We help West Virginia families through difficult decisions
When a divorce, annulment or legal separation involves children, the decisions involved become substantially more complicated. The court not only needs to decide where the children will live, but also how property and funds will be allocated to provide for the interests of the children. Child custody cases can be legally complex and emotionally trying, and often, the children themselves are caught in the crossfire between their parents.
At the Klie Law Offices, we understand that our clients need compassion and experience on their side throughout each child custody case. Our team will consider all aspects of your family's situation needs and help you create a legal strategy that will serve your interests as well as your children's.
Shared Parenting in West Virginia
As a rule, West Virginia courts prefer to use shared parenting arrangements rather than awarding sole custody to one parent. Two types of shared parenting exist:
- Under a basic shared parenting arrangement, one parent keeps the child or children overnight for less than 35 percent of the year, meaning the children spend the majority of the year with the other parent.
- Under extended shared parenting, each parent keeps the child or children overnight for 35 percent of the year or more. In other words, this is a fairly equal distribution of time between the two parents.
In either sort of shared parenting, both parents are expected to contribute to the child or children's expenses. This is in addition to any child support that may have been awarded.
Determining Child Custody in Court
Whenever possible, family courts in West Virginia encourage parents to create a custody and visitation plan themselves before asking a judge to decide. A proposed parenting plan should include significant contact with each parent, account for the child's activities - such as school, extracurricular activities and religion - and provide some means for resolving disputes between the parents. Courts will generally accept a proposed plan if it covers all of those bases.
If the parents are unable or unwilling to work out an agreement acceptable to the court, a judge will make a custody decision. West Virginia courts use the best interests of the child standard, which means they will consider the current relationship between the child and the parents, the parents' ability to care for the child and the mental and physical health of the parents. The child's own preference will also be taken into account.
Our attorneys can help with your child custody case
Because every family's situation is unique, you'll need an attorney who will pay attention to your individual circumstances to help you through a child custody case. At the Klie Law Offices, we can assist with every aspect of your case, from working out a shared parenting agreement that the court will approve to representing you before a judge. We'll put our extensive experience to work for you.