When parents in West Virginia get a divorce, they may face years of co-parenting. This can mean a custody schedule that changes over the years as the children get older.

Younger children often do better with frequent contact with both parents. A 2-2-3 schedule means that the child spends two days with one parent, two with the other and three with the first, and then the parents switch. For older children, a 2-2-5 schedule or alternating weeks may work better. Parents should try to think of the best interests of the child and not make an effort to grab more custody time than they are able to manage given their other obligations.

Children should be encouraged to express their feelings and should be listened to when determining the custody schedule although the final decision should be based on the child’s best interests. When these best interests clash with those of the parents, the child must always come first. Parents should not say negative things about one another and should keep in mind that a bad ex-spouse may still be a great parent. Parents need a method of communication that is effective for them, and if they do run into conflict, they should only choose the most important issues to pursue.

Determining child custody can be one of the most difficult parts of a divorce for parents to navigate. Their attorneys may assist them with negotiation or mediation, which often helps resolve issues in divorce. If mediation is unsuccessful, parents may need to go to court. This might be the case if they simply cannot agree on what is best for the child or if one parent is concerned about the child’s safety with the other parent. In the latter case, the other parent may be only allowed supervised visitation or no visitation.