April 20, 2017
Grandparents’ rights in West Virginia are a common topic for Legal Aid’s attorneys to get asked about. West Virginia is different than many other states in that it has a specific code section that is dedicated to this very topic. This code section attempts to strike a balance between the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit and to ensure that the child has a positive relationship with his/her entire family.
It is always best to try and resolve these issues outside the courts whenever possible. To that end, a grandparent who would like more time with a grandchild, should attempt to discuss this with the child’s parents first. Only when this has failed should filing a court action be considered.
If a grandparent were to file such an action, the Judge may grant “reasonable” visitation if he Judge finds:
- That visitation would be in the best interest of the child, and
- Visitation would not substantially interfere with the parent-child relationship.
However, the Judge is going to give great weight to the wishes of a fit and proper parent in such matters. If the parent of the child through which the grand parent is related is involved in the child’s life and objects to the grandparent’s request for visitation the grandparent will have a very hard time overcoming their child’s wishes.
It must also be noted that if the grandparent’s concern is related to the fitness of a parent, and not simply a disagreement about their relationship with their grandchild, Grandparent Visitation is not the appropriate way to address such concerns.
More information about this topic can be found in this website's Self-Help Library. Different cases have different circumstances and complications. The information presented here and in our website's Self-Help Library is to help you understand the issues that may come up in a grandparent visitation case and is not intended to address every possible situation.
Disclaimer: This is general legal information. For more guidance about your particular situation, please contact Legal Aid or talk to a lawyer.