The law in West Virginia and for family court is written in such a broad way that it’s very difficult sometimes to predict what a particular judge can do. Now, sometimes if you can talk to an experienced family court lawyer who is familiar with the judges, they’re going to be able to tell you generally what to expect from a certain judge. What you could do is actually have the same sort of facts and you take that in front of one judge and you’re going to get one outcome and you take it in front of another judge and you get a totally different outcome. That’s just the reality of it and it’s really unfortunate that it’s that way, but it really is the case in many instances. It’s really important that you take into account the judges and what’s going to affect the case.
The other thing that can have a huge impact on your case is the age of the children. Let’s say you have younger children as opposed to older children. This is going to have a huge impact if one parent has been totally uninvolved in the lives of the child. Let’s say you have a child and the two of you have been separated for a year and one of you has been exclusively taking care of the child. It can have a huge impact on how the court looks at parenting issues. The other thing that can have a huge impact on a divorce case is going to be how much property there is to divide. The court is going to look at whether there’s a lot of property to did to be divided or whether there’s a little bit of property divided.
I’ve had cases where, for example, alimony is a huge issue even though there’s not a whole lot of property. Let’s say you have a doctor who is just a few years out of medical school. There might not be a whole lot of pot property to divide, but at the same time there is certainly an issue with alimony if there’s a huge income disparity between the two spouses. That’s a broad overview of some of the issues that you can face with regards to how you look at a case. The bottom line is, no two cases can be looked at the same way. You always have to take that into account. Don’t necessarily think that what happens in front of one person or in front of one judge is necessarily going to have the same impact or be the same in front of another judge in family court.