This is going to vary from county to county from court to court. When it comes to counties in which there is only one family court judge it’s very simple. The family court judge that you’re going to get is the one who has been elected in that County. Without limited exceptions, the circuit court is not going to hear a family court case whatsoever, unless there has been an appeal. So, if you’re filing in family court in the counties where you just have one family court judge, or you have one family court judge that covers several counties, then it’s very certain as to which judge you’re going to get. It’s going to be the only judge that’s there.
You do sometimes have situations where you have more than one family court judge. For example, here in Kanawha County, we have five family court judges. Then again in Raleigh County, there are three. If you go to other counties, they might have two and so on. It just depends. If nothing has ever been filed in the family court for the most part across the board in West Virginia then the judge you’re going to get is going to be randomly selected. Now, if there’s a situation where there’s some sort of conflict of interest or a limited situation where there might be potential bias, which is a high bar to get over, then you might get the other judge. Alternatively, if there’s some sort of conflict of interest, or there’s a reason to disqualify the judge, they might bring in a judge from another County or a judge who is retired. Ordinarily what they would do in situations where there are several judges in one particular County, is it would be randomly assigned.
Another rule that they have in many counties, Kanawha County is one but it might be the rule in several other counties, depending on which one is it, the role oftentimes is that if the judge has handled anything between the two people in the past, even cases that have been dismissed, that judge will continue to handle the case. That’s usually how it works. That’s certainly how it works here in Kanawha County. This is often the case in other counties as well.
So there are some pretty clear-cut rules as to how it’s determined whether a judge is going to be assigned to a case, but it’s going to vary from county to county. That consists of today’s topic. If you have any questions at all, feel free to give us a call at (304) 720 4412 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.