Divorce – Grandparents Visitation – West Virginia
Legislative findings; intent
The Legislature finds that circumstances arise where it is appropriate for circuit courts of this state to order that grandparents of minor children may exercise visitation with their grandchildren. The Legislature further finds that in such situations, as in all situations involving children, the best interests of the child or children are the paramount consideration. It is the express intent of the Legislature that the provisions for grandparent visitation that are set forth in this article are exclusive.
Chap. 48, Art. 2-B, §48-2B-1
Factors affecting a decision to grant visitation for grandparents.
The circuit court shall grant reasonable visitation to a grandparent upon a finding that visitation would be in the best interests of the child and would not substantially interfere with the parent-child relationship.
In making a determination on a motion or petition made pursuant to section four of this article, the court shall consider the following factors:
(1) The age of the child;
(2) The relationship between the child and the grandparent;
(3) The relationship between each of the child’s parents or the person with whom the child is residing and the grandparent;
(4) The time which has elapsed since the child last had contact with the grandparent;
(5) The effect that such visitation will have on the relationship between the child and the child’s parents or the person with whom the child is residing;
(6) If the parents are divorced or separated, the custody and visitation arrangement which exists between the parents with regard to the child;
(7) The time available to the child and his or her parents, giving consideration to such matters as each parent’s employment schedule, the child’s schedule for home, school and community activities, and the child’s and parents’ holiday and vacation schedule;
(8) The good faith of the grandparent in filing the motion or petition;
(9) Any history of physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect being performed, procured, assisted or condoned by the grandparent;
(10) Whether the child has, in the past, resided with the grandparent for a significant period or periods of time, with or without the child’s parent or parents;
(11) Whether the grandparent has, in the past, been a significant caretaker for the child, regardless of whether the child resided inside or outside of the grandparent’s residence;
(12) The preference of the parents with regard to the requested visitation; and
(13) Any other factor relevant to the best interests of the child.
Chap. 48, Art. 2-B, §48-2B-5
Effect of remarriage or adoption on visitation for grandparents.
The remarriage of the custodial parent of a child does not affect the authority of a circuit court to grant reasonable visitation to any grandparent.
If a child who is subject to a visitation order under this article is later adopted, the order for grandparent visitation is automatically vacated when the order for adoption is entered, unless the adopting parent is a stepparent, grandparent or other relative of the child.
Chap. 48, Art. 2-B, §48-2B-9