Your child is going through a divorce in West Virginia, and their spouse is the custodial parent of your grandchild. The thought of not being able to see your grandchild as often as you’d like is devastating. However, you can take steps to legally establish grandparent visitation rights. In West Virginia, the court will consider grandparent visitation if it is in the child’s best interest.
Process of filing for grandparent visitation
The process involves filing a petition for grandparent visitation in the family court in the county where the child resides. This petition should include the names and addresses of the child’s parents and your relationship to the child. You’ll also need to explain why you believe it’s in the child’s best interest for you to have visitation rights.
Not an automatic right
The court will not automatically grant grandparent visitation. Grandparents’ visitation rights and child custody rights are two separate issues that require individual judicial rulings.
Considerations of the court
The court will consider several factors when determining whether grandparent visitation is appropriate. These include the following:
- The child’s relationship with the grandparents
- The relationship of the child and their parents
- The impact of the grandparent visitation on the child’s overall well-being
- The wishes of the child and the parents
- Any evidence of abuse or neglect by the grandparents
The process can be slow
Approach the process with patience and understanding. The court may take several weeks or even months to decide. It’s also possible that the court will deny your petition for visitation, especially if it determines that it’s not in the child’s best interest.
If visitation granted
If the court grants your petition for grandparent visitation, it will determine the terms of the visitation, including the frequency, duration and location of the visits. The court may also order supervised visits if it determines that this is necessary to protect the child’s well-being.
Certainly a challenging time
While it can be challenging to establish grandparent visitation rights during a divorce in West Virginia, it is possible. Keep in mind that the court will always prioritize the best interests of the child. Just try to approach the process with compassion and understanding.