Morgantown Child Custody Lawyers Help Resolve Issues
We guide our clients through parenting plans and other custody matters step by step
From our office in Morgantown, the law firm of Angotti & Straface, L.C. helps West Virginia individuals and families effectively and efficiently resolve child custody issues. Facing judgment on custody of your child can be filled with emotion. Our goal is to make the legal process as stress-free as possible and to provide you with the high level of personal care and attention that has distinguished our firm for decades.
Child custody in West Virginia involves an allocation of responsibility that matches the amount of time each parent spent taking care of the child before the separation or divorce.
How is custody determined?
First and foremost, the court determines child custody based on the best interests of the child. Other factors include:
- The child’s stability
- The parenting plan and the parents’ agreement about the custodial arrangements
- Continued parent-child attachments
- Meaningful contact between the child and both parents
- The existence of caretaking relationships by adults who love the child, know how to provide for the child’s needs, and place high priority on those needs
- Security from exposure to physical or emotional harm
A secondary objective is to achieve fairness between the parents.
The court may order joint custody of the child. Or, the court may order sole custody to one parent. If sole custody is awarded, the noncustodial parent most likely gains visitation rights.
Proposed parenting plans must be filed with the court
In West Virginia, the person seeking custody of the child files a proposed parenting plan with the court. Both spouses can also file a joint parenting plan. The plan includes:
- Name, address and period of time the child has lived with any adults for one year or more
- Name and address of each of the child’s parents
- A description of each spouse’s parenting and caretaking responsibilities during the previous two years
- A description of the custodial parent’s work and childcare schedules, noting any expected changes
- A description of the child’s school and extracurricular activities
- A description of any limiting factors, such as domestic violence or restraining orders
- Financial information as required
The parenting plan designates the percent of time the mother and father carried out parental responsibilities before filing for divorce. The court evaluates the information and orders a parenting plan that designates the child’s living arrangements and each parent’s custodial responsibility. If both spouses agree on one or more elements of the plan, the court makes it final. If spouses cannot agree, a mediator is brought in to resolve the issues and bring about an agreement.
Modifying or enforcing custody
Often parents believe they can come to an agreement on their own when they want to change an aspect of the child custody arrangement ordered by the court. This can only backfire and lead to increased conflict. An Angotti & Straface family lawyer can help you re-enter the legal process to ensure your needs are met and are enforceable when circumstances change, such as military service, loss of a job or the need to relocate for a job.
Get the help you need with child custody issues. Schedule your free initial consultation now.
Angotti & Straface, L.C. in Morgantown represents clients in child custody matters, including parenting plans, modification and enforcement. Let us put our nearly 60 years of combined legal experience to work for you. Call us at 304-212-7368 or use our online contact form to arrange for your complimentary consultation now.