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How is child custody determined after divorce?

On Behalf of | Dec 5, 2022 | Family Law

Divorce can be challenging for every member of the family. Often, parents are stressed about how they will care for their children, and children worry about the uncertainty ahead of them.

Deciding how to balance custody between divorcing parents can often lead to disagreements about what is best for the child. Additionally, each parent may have obstacles that the court will need to consider when creating an agreement for the parents.

Here’s what you should know about child custody in West Virginia.

50/50 is the default

Not long ago, when it was time to award child custody, courts would award custody primarily to one parent. The other parent would typically spend less time with the children and pay child support.

Now, West Virginia courts aim to find a way to split custody evenly with divorcing parents. While there may be situations where one parent has more parenting time, unless there are extenuating circumstances, courts want children to have an equal amount of time with both parents.

Other factors to consider

Although courts aim for a 50/50 split for custody of the children, there are times when it makes sense for one parent to have more time with the children. When it is time to make a decision based on a family’s unique circumstances, courts will look at the child’s best interests and include factors such as:

  • The ability of each parent to maintain their relationship with the child
  • Continuity of the child’s education
  • The capability of each parent to care for the child

Depending on the child’s age, courts may also consider their thoughts on the custody arrangement.

Child custody negotiations are often one of the biggest challenges during a divorce. Having a skilled advocate who can help you through the process is important.