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Introduced Version Senate Bill 405 History

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Senate Bill No. 405

(By Senators Kessler, Unger, Minard and White)

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[Introduced March 2, 2009; referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.]

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A BILL to amend and reenact §48-10-401 and §48-10-402 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, all relating generally to jurisdiction for petitions by grandparents for visitation of grandchild.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §48-10-401 and §48-10-402 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 10. GRANDPARENT VISITATION.
§48-10-401. Motion for grandparent visitation when action for divorce, custody, legal separation, annulment or establishment of paternity is pending.

(a) The provisions of this section apply to any pending actions for divorce, custody, legal separation, annulment or establishment of paternity.
(b) After the commencement of the action, a grandparent seeking visitation with his or her grandchild may, by motion, apply to the circuit court or family court for an order granting visitation. A grandparent moving for an order of visitation will not be afforded party status, but may be called as a witness by the court, and will be subject to cross-examination by the parties.
§48-10-402. Petition for grandparent visitation when action for divorce, custody, legal separation, annulment or establishment of paternity is not pending.

(a) The provisions of this section apply when no proceeding for divorce, custody, legal separation, annulment or establishment of paternity is pending.
(b) A grandparent may petition the circuit court or family court for an order granting visitation with his or her grandchild, regardless of whether the parents of the child are married. If the grandparent filed a motion for visitation in a previous proceeding for divorce, custody, legal separation, annulment or establishment of paternity, and a decree or final order has issued in that earlier action, the grandparent may petition for visitation if the circumstances have materially changed since the entry of the earlier order or decree.
(c) When a petition under this section is filed, the matter shall be styled "In re grandparent visitation of [petitioner's(s') name(s)]."

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to require petitions for grandparent visitation be filed in family court when an action involving that child, or his or her parents, is pending in family court. If there is not a pending proceeding involving the child, or his or her parents then the grandparent seeking visitation may file in either family court or circuit court.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.
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