Justin Raber Attorney at Law

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West Virginia best interest of the child standard: FAQs

Parents going through or considering a divorce have likely heard of the best interest of the child standard. This standard is a legal term which refers to the factors a court takes into consideration when making child custody determinations.

What types of factors are taken into consideration? The list of factors can vary by state, since family law is an area of law governed by state law. As a result, it is helpful for parents to have a basic understanding of the factors in their state.

In West Virginia, the court attempts to preserve the child's best interests by considering the following:

  • Existing parent-child relationship
  • Ability of each parent to provide a safe environment, both from physical and emotional harm
  • A desire to develop an agreement that results in meaningful contact with both parents

The court will also take any parental plan or agreement about child custody that is put together by the parents into consideration.

Does the court approve parenting plans put together by the parents? The court often requests parents put together a parenting plan. These agreements are often approved by the court. Some exceptions include if the agreement is found by the court to be made involuntarily by one of the parents or if it would be harmful to the child.

Do I need a lawyer? Navigating through these issues can be complicated. Issues that can cause frustration include putting together required paperwork and making sure that all the potential future ramifications of a decision are taken into consideration before signing the final divorce agreement.

As a result, it is often wise to seek the counsel of an experienced family law attorney. This legal professional will guide you through the process, advocating for your rights and working to better ensure a more favorable outcome.

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