H. B. 4235
(By Delegates Osborne, Hubbard,
Leggett, Yeager and Clements)
[Introduced February 2, 1998; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact section one, article two-b, chapter
forty-eight of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine
hundred thirty-one, as amended; and to further amend said
article by adding thereto a new section, designated section
ten, all relating to grandparent visitation is in the best
interest of the child unless a party objecting to the
grandparent visitation shows that it would be unsafe for the
child; defining grandparent visitation; requiring that an
order of the circuit court relating to grandparent
visitation be clearly stated in writing; and allowing a
grandparent who has been denied visitation by the mother or
the father for a period of ninety days or longer to petition
the circuit court for an order granting the grandparent
reasonable visitation rights.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section one, article two-b, chapter forty-eight of the
code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as
amended, be amended and reenacted; and that said article be
further amended by adding thereto a new section, designated
section ten, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 2B. GRANDPARENT VISITATION.
§48-2B-1. Legislative findings; intent; definitions.
(a) The Legislature finds that circumstances may arise where
it is appropriate for circuit courts of this state to have
jurisdiction to grant to the grandparents of minor children a
right of visitation to enhance the best interests of the minor
child or children as well as the grandparent. The Legislature
further finds that in such situations, as in all situations
involving children, the best interests of children must be the
paramount consideration. It is the express intent of the
Legislature that the provisions for grandparent visitation set
forth in this article shall be exclusive and under all
circumstances the interests of the child or children involved
shall be the court's first and paramount consideration. However,
grandparent visitation shall be in the best interest of the child
unless a party objecting to the grandparent visitation shows that
it would be unsafe for the child.
(b) For purposes of this article, "grandparent" means a biological grandparent, a person married or previously married to
a biological grandparent, or a person who has previously been
granted custody of the parent of a minor child with whom
visitation is sought by a court of competent jurisdiction.
(c) "Grandparent visitation" means an unsupervised visit
where spontaneity between child and grandparent can be enjoyed in
a natural setting.
(d) An order of a circuit court concerning the granting or
denial of grandparent visitation shall be clearly stated in
§48-2B-10. Grandparent visitation when visitation with minor
child denied for ninety days or more.
any other provision of law to the contrary, a
grandparent may petition the circuit court of the county in which
he or she resides for an order granting the grandparent
reasonable visitation rights where he or she is denied visitation
by one or both of the parents of the minor child for a period of
ninety days or more.
Note: The purpose of this bill is to provide certain
statutory declarations concerning grandparent visitation, direct
circuit courts to issue orders that clearly state whether
grandparent visitation is granted or denied, and to provide that
grandparents may petition the circuit court in the event they are
denied visitation for more than ninety days.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that
would be added.
Section ten is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.