Senate Bill No. 614
(By Senators Barnes, D. Hall, Laird, Tucker, Stollings, Cookman and Wells)
[Introduced February 17, 2014; referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §48-10-502 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to grandparent visitation; and determining when a grandparent has standing for custody of a child.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §48-10-502 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 10. GRANDPARENT VISITATION.
§48-10-502. Factors to be considered in making a determination as to a grant of visitation or custody to a grandparent.
In making a determination on a motion or petition 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: Provided, That when a child has resided inside the grandparent’s residence for a period of five or more years and the grandparent is, or has been a significant caretaker for the child during that time, notwithstanding any other provision of this code or law to the contrary, the grandparent has equal standing with a natural parent or guardian in regard to custody of the child.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to provide a standard for determining when a grandparent has standing for custody of a child.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.