September 24, 2019 by Chad Phillips, National Parents Organization of West Virginia
With the release of National Parents Organization’s 2019 Shared Parenting Report Card, it remains clear that there is still much work to do in West Virginia. Many states are moving closer to shared parenting as the norm in family courts. However, West Virginia lags behind, receiving a grade of C-.
There is effort to improve our family court system, but most changes are met with resistance. Some improvements include legislation pertaining to false allegations of abuse, as well as a change in parental responsibilities pertaining to custody percentages.
According to several professional studies, shared equal custody benefits children greatly after a separation or divorce. Our children deserve to have as much meaningful time and contact with both their parents before, during and after a separation regardless of the attitude of the parents. The best protection for the children in West Virginia would be new legislation providing equal time with both parents in temporary and final court orders, assuming there is no proof of a history of abuse.
Proof is important. We wouldn’t send someone to prison for bank robbery just because they were accused. They are entitled to due process, which includes a trial. If found guilty, they pay the price for their crime.
Family court doesn’t have to meet the same burden of proof, however. Children are often removed from a parent’s life over a false accusation. All children need protection from all adults in their lives whether it be parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches or their medical providers.
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