West Virginia’s foster care system is overloaded.
As drug abuse tightens its grip on the Mountain State, it’s increasingly falling to grandparents to step in and do the job that parents cannot – or will not – do for children.
At Taylor and Hinkle, we frequently get calls from grandparents who are watching their grandchildren go through the worst of it. Frequently, those grandparents believe that they are powerless to intervene. We’re pleased to tell them that they’re wrong…Grandparents have rights.
Grandparents have rights to visitation in West Virginia.
W. Va. Code §48-10-101 et seq. empowers grandparents (including in some cases non-biological relatives) to petition a local court to have visitation with their grandchildren.
The Court must evaluate and prioritize the best interests of the child, and any petitioning grandparent must demonstrate that a grant of reasonable visitation would:
- be in the best interests of the child and
- not substantially interfere with the parent-child relationship.
Courts Prioritize What’s Best For The Child
There are other showings that the grandparent must make. These vary and are dependent upon, whether there’s ongoing litigation between the parents, whether there’s an existing custody order, whether the parent(s) want the visitation to take place, among others. Further, the Court may elect to appoint a Guardian ad Litem for the child to ensure the child’s interests are protected.
In making this determination, there are thirteen factors that the Court must consider, such as the child’s age and the previous relationship between grandchild and grandparent. The Court must also consider how the grandparent’s request could affect the family relationships.
Attorneys With Experience In WV Grandparent Visitation Cases
As you can imagine, it gets complicated. Adam Taylor and Amber Hinkle have litigated numerous cases involving grandparent visitation. They can help you preserve or restore your relationship with your grandchild.
Grandkids are important, and grandparents have rights. If you’re going to ask the Court for help, make sure you’re represented by competent counsel. Call us today for a free consultation.