West Virginia Child Custody and Support Guidelines:
The Legislature finds and declares that it is the public policy of this state to assure that the best interest of children is the court's primary concern in allocating custodial and decision-making responsibilities between parents who do not live together. The primary objective of this article is to serve the child's best interests, by facilitating:
- Stability of the child
- Parental planning and agreement about the child's custodial arrangements and upbringing.
- Continuity of existing parent-child attachments.
- Meaningful contact between a child and each parent.
- Care-taking relationships by adults who love the child, know how to provide for the child's needs, and who place a high priority on doing so.
- Security from exposure to physical or emotional harm.
- To achieve fairness between the parents (this is a secondary objective).
[Based on West Virginia Code; Section 48-9-101 and 48-9-102]CHILD SUPPORT:
If the action involves a minor child or children, the court shall order either or both parties to pay child support in accordance with the provisions of articles 11-101, et seq., and 13-101. The court shall order medical support to be provided for the child or children in accordance with the provisions of article 12-101. A child support order is determined by dividing the total child support obligation between the parents in proportion to their income. Both parents' adjusted gross income is used to determine the amount of child support.
Deviations from the guidelines are possible for the following reasons:
- Special needs of the child or support obligor, including, but not limited to, the special needs of a minor or adult child who is physically or mentally disabled.
- Educational expenses for the child or the parent (i.e. those incurred for private, parochial, or trade schools, other secondary schools, or post-secondary education where there is tuition or costs beyond state and local tax contributions).
- Families with more than six children.
- Long distance visitation costs.
- The child resides with third party.
- The needs of another child or children to whom the obligor owes a duty of support.
- The extent to which the obligor's income depends on nonrecurring or non-guaranteed income.
- Whether the total of spousal support, child support and child care costs subtracted from an obligor's income reduces that income to less than the federal poverty level and conversely, whether deviation from child support guidelines would reduce the income of the child's household to less than the federal poverty level.
[Based on West Virginia Code; Section 48-5-603, 48-13-201, and 48-13-702]