Located and practicing in Martinsburg and throughout Eastern West Virginia
Located and practicing in Martinsburg and throughout Eastern West Virginia

Can West Virginia grandparents seek court-ordered visitation?

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2023 | Family law

West Virginia grandparents may fill numerous roles in the lives of their grandchildren. If their children experience relationship troubles or unemployment, grandparents may provide financial support or even housing for the family. When children are not old enough for school, grandparents may provide child care so that parents can return to work without spending every penny they make on daycare services.

Grandparents may also simply be a consistent and encouraging presence in children’s lives, offering them guidance, love and support. They may spend occasional weekends with the grandchildren, making memories and providing a bit of respite for parents. Grandparents often treasure the relationships they have with their grandchildren and play an important role in their development.

Unfortunately, issues that have nothing to do with the relationship a grandparent has with their grandchildren could interfere with that connection. A divorce or a change in the relationship between the grandparent and parent could prevent someone from continuing their involvement with their grandchildren. Is it possible for grandparents to ask the family courts for visitation?

Yes, the family courts see the value of grandparent involvement

Children need to have a strong bond with their parents, who will typically serve as their primary and secondary caregivers. However, they need to feel connected to their extended family and will require the support of many other adults before they become adults themselves. If parents take steps that aren’t in the best interests of the children, grandparents can ask the West Virginia family courts for help.

Provided that a grandparent has a pre-existing relationship with the grandchildren and that their involvement would be beneficial for the grandchildren, the courts may award them visitation rights despite the protests of the parent. Unless there is reason to believe that grandparent visitation would damage the parent-child relationship, a grandparent can ask the courts to award them occasional visitation to preserve their relationship despite the changes in their family circumstances.0

Grandparent visitation can benefit the children

Losing a bond with someone within the family can be very difficult for a child or teenager, especially if they have experienced other major changes in recent months. Even if a grandparent might shy away from conflict for their own sake, they may decide to take action because it will benefit their grandchildren.

Understanding how West Virginia law protects the rights of grandparents may inspire people to take legal action and ask the family courts for help under certain circumstances.