When parents in West Virginia get divorced, one of the most important decisions they’ll have to make is how to share custody of their children. Here’s a look at the factors judges consider when determining this.
Parenting plan overview
A parenting plan is a legal document that outlines how parents in West Virginia will share custody of their children. It specifically deals with two matters: a schedule on how each parent will spend time with their kids and how they’ll also go about decision making on the child’s welfare. A parenting plan can be part of a divorce settlement agreement, or a court can order it when you are separated from the other parent.
Factors courts consider in developing a parenting plan
When developing a parenting plan, family law courts will consider several factors. These include (but are not limited to):
- The child’s relationship with each parent: If a child has a strong bond with both parents, joint custody may be the best option. If the child has a stronger bond with one parent, that parent may have primary custody.
- The child’s needs: Each child is unique and has different needs. The court will look at factors such as the child’s age, health, and special needs (if any).
- The work schedules of each parent: Parents who have demanding jobs or travel often may not be able to provide the stability that a child needs. In these cases, the court may consider primary physical custody and visitation.
- The location of each parent’s home: If one parent lives far away from the other, it may not be practical to have a joint custody arrangement. But if you can work out a “bird nesting” arrangement, the court may consider shared custody until the child turns 18.
As you can see, courts consider many factors when developing a parenting plan, but the one that takes precedence is the child’s best interests. The judge’s main aim is to ensure your child’s life remains stable and safe, regardless of your differences.