CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – A bill that would change custody disputes in West Virginia has been passed by the House of Delegates and is under Senate scrutiny.
HB 2363, known as the Best Interests of the Child Protection Act, would hire a judge whenever possible to grant 50/50 joint custody in divorce or custody proceedings. The bill would foresee a breakdown of at least 35/65 if the judge in certain circumstances, such as: B. Child abuse who sees the necessary and sole concern that can change a temporary or permanent parenting plan.
“If someone has less than 30 percent custody, the parent can even move away,” said main sponsor Del. Geoff Foster (R-Putnam). “This calculation is something that involves both parents in a child’s life, which has been found to be best for the child.”
Growing up in a separate household, Foster saw the advantages of 50/50 imprisonment over other options. He introduced the legislation after psychological data showed that contact with both parents after a separation has great benefits.
Currently, a judge can judge who provides the most care and give the parent the most custody. Someone experienced in making these decisions is retired Family Court Judge Susan Perry.
Perry said families are not all the same, so resolving a custody battle won’t necessarily work for another family. She said decisions must be made based on what is best for a child, not guidelines.
“They are in sports, they are in ball games, they are in dance classes, they are in scouting events, they have friends, they want to stay overnight,” Perry said of the busy life of a child. “These kinds of things make it very difficult to plan 50/50 when that’s being pushed by the court.”
Perry said this legislation would open every custody case across the state that is not currently a 50/50 split, and the state doesn’t have enough judges to hear all of these cases at once. She is confident that lawmakers could primarily focus on mediation or other methods to prevent divorce and disputes.
“It’s very difficult to find the 50/50 split that people want, but that’s a great goal,” said Perry. “There is no one I know who believes that fathers are not good parents or that mothers are not good parents. It’s just a matter of time. You can’t just take a cookie cutter and stamp it and say that this family will do this and this other family will do the same because families are not the same. “
Foster said he knew that legislation alone would not build better families through the judicial system, but he hoped that this bill could ultimately help children build a better future.
The bill was passed on Monday and is currently awaiting action from the Senate Judiciary Committee.
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