Decision Making Regarding Children After Your West Virginia Divorce

Updated: 02/27/2020

A huge concern for spouses when considering a divorce in West Virginia is the topic on decision making regarding children. It’s important to know that in West Virginia the laws are a little bit different than some other states when it comes to decision making with children. It’s a completely separate analysis as to who gets the kids and when you may get your children. In other words, just because you might have your children 90% of the time or more, it has no bearing on the main decision making when it comes to your kids. The court is looking at both sides totally separately. I’ve even seen parenting plans in which one of the parents has almost no custody of the children at all, yet the courts decided when it comes to major decisions, it’s going to be a joint decision between both parents.

What types of decision making are there when it comes to children?

There are really two types of classifications of decision making when it comes to the children. There’s what they call the day to day decisions in the West Virginia divorce process and then there’s what they call major decisions. Major decisions are things like religion, where they go to school, driving a car, major medical procedures. Things like that are considered to be major decision for you and your spouse’s children. Day to day decisions are the decisions such as whether you can take them to the movies or whether you can make them certain things to eat. An example would be if you want to feed them food such as mac and cheese, pizza, or whatever. That’s how it’s done. It’s done a little bit differently depending on the type of decision making. Generally speaking, one of the parents is not going to get to micromanage (with some exceptions from time to time) what the other parent does with their time.

Which parent has the right to make major decisions for children after a divorce?

When it comes to major decisions, the court is going to be very specific as to whether it’s going to be a joint decision or not. Child care might be one of the major decisions and the court will make a decision on that. It’ll either be a joint decision, or it’ll be allocated to one person or another. I’ve had cases where one parent might be solely responsible for medical decisions and then the other person might be solely responsible for just the child care. It really depends on the situation. I can tell you in most of the courts that I appear in, as a general rule of thumb, unless there’s a very compelling reason, major decisions are going to be considered to be joint decisions between both parents.

What about the day to day, less important decisions?

The day to day, less important decisions are usually going to be with whoever the child is with at the time. I wanted to give you a basic rundown in terms of how decision making regarding children works. It’s a completely separate analysis than who gets the kids and when, so those are two different things. That’s the most important thing for you to remember. They’re totally separate, and just because you have your child or children the vast majority of the time doesn’t mean that you’re going to be able to make major decisions without talking to the other parent. Well, there you have it, the basics of how the decision making process regarding children after West Virginia divorce works.