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What you should know about grandparents’ rights in West Virginia

On Behalf of | Feb 28, 2023 | Family Law

If you grew up with grandparents, you know the impact they can have on the lives of their grandchildren. Today, many states are giving grandparents specific rights with regard to their grandchildren.

Although parents typically have the right to determine who their children spend time with, many states are giving grandparents specific rights, including visitation. These are some things you should know.

Federal law

The Constitution protects the rights of parents, but no federal law exists that protects your rights as a grandparent to see or spend time with your grandchildren. However, a US Supreme Court case, Troxel v. Granville, is a key foundation for grandparents’ rights based on the children’s best interest.

West Virginia law

In West Virginia, parents’ rights are strictly protected. This means that children’s parents determine who can spend time with their kids. They can prevent you from seeing them, and they are typically consulted prior to visitation.

However, WV also used the Troxel decision in its grandparents’ rights laws. Therefore, if the courts determine that your grandchildren need you physically or emotionally, you may receive visitation. However, your grandchildren’s ages, your prior relationships with them, the regularity of your communication and your schedule receive consideration by the judge. In addition, judges will consider your relationship with their parents and its impact on the relationship between them and their children.

Best interest of the child

Courts typically consider the best interests of the children when determining visitation. Therefore, judges consider whether you have had a significant positive impact on your grandchildren’s lives.

The courts will always do what is best for the child, and the judge can consider any factor deemed relevant to make a decision, especially if these factors impact the child’s welfare.