Shared Parenting Legislation


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The House of Delegates has passed and sent to the Senate a bill that would give both parents in divorce a presumption of joint custody and shared parenting of their children.

The House passed the bill 59-38 after an extended debate Wednesday over whether the bill would be beneficial to families or create additional hardships for children of divorce.

HB 4648 states that “co-equal shared legal and physical custody with both of the child’s parents is in the best interest of the child,” meaning that divorce cases begin with a presumption of joint custody.

The House passed House Bill 4648 during Wednesday’s floor session, otherwise known as the Parenting Fairness Act of 2020. Wednesday was the last day for House Bills to be passed out of the House for this legislative session.

House Bill 4648, the Parenting Fairness Act of 2020, establishes that a 50-50 custody split between two parents in the case of divorce is in the best interest of their child(ren) and is to be set as the standard for courts in the state. This is to be used in cases when parents cannot come up with their own parenting plan that they both agree on. Additionally, this custody split will only be implemented in cases where abuse, neglect or drug use are not present with one of the parents. Ultimately, it will be up to the judge to decide custody agreements after hearing all the facts of each case. House Bill 4648 only sets the standard for co-parenting in the court system, after research has shown that this is in the best interest of the child(ren).

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