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Barboursville West Virginia Legal Blog

How can I make my medical power of attorney valid?

It is not pleasant to think about you or a loved one becoming so ill or disabled that making medical decisions is not possible, yet it is important to make plans so that you and your family maintain control over your health care choices. Fortunately, West Virginia law provides for people to appoint a medical durable power of attorney (POA) to make medical decisions on their behalf should they end up disabled. However, in doing so you want to make sure the appointment is valid.

According to West Virginia law, when someone signs a medical power of attorney, it should be performed before two or more witnesses. However, those witnesses could be disqualified for a number of reasons. If the witnesses are too young, if they are not at least eighteen years old, their signatures will not be valid.

Changing child support after losing your present income

Life can throw some nasty curveballs, which can include the sudden loss of a job or a physical disability resulting from an automobile accident that makes it difficult to earn income. If your financial fortunes have taken a turn for the worse and you are currently paying child support, you should modify your child support payments in a West Virginia court as soon as you can to adjust to your new status.

According to West Virginia law, child support orders must contain notifications stating that child support is to be paid even if the circumstances of a person change since the support order was made. However, this only means that an order will not automatically change along with the circumstances of the obligor. If you suffer a hardship that inhibits your ability to make payments, you must take steps to have the order changed.

What factors are considered for grandparent visitation?

Generally speaking, grandparents in West Virginia have the right to visit their grandchildren. However, there may be an issue between you and one or both of the parents of your grandchildren that prevents you from seeing them. If this is the case, according to FindLaw, it is usually best to resolve such issues out of court if at all possible. In the event that you are not making any headway by talking things out with your grandchildren's parents face to face, it may be beneficial for all parties to engage in mediation by a qualified professional. 

While it is advisable to pursue litigation only as a last resort, sometimes it is necessary to settle a particular dispute. If you must take the parents of your grandchildren to court in order to protect your rights as a grandparent, the court will rule according to the same guiding principle that applies in all family law cases that involve children: the best interests of the child. 

What is spousal support?

If you get a divorce in West Virginia, the court may order you to pay or your spouse to pay spousal support. This term, according to the West Virginia Legislature, simply means alimony or support paid to help the other spouse meet living expenses. Either spouse may pay it. The court figures the amount unless there is a prenuptial agreement in effect that lays out spousal support terms.

If the court orders spousal support, you may pay or receive it monthly. You also may pay it a one-time lump sum. You will usually pay it from income, but the court may sometimes order the sale of assets to pay for it or award assets as part of the payment or as the whole payment.

Decide to pay child support with time or with money

At Herrenkohl Law Office, we take pride in the fact that we work hard to achieve our clients' goals. We believe that we are some of the toughest divorce lawyers in West Virginia. However, determination alone is not enough to succeed — we also need to truly understand our clients' goals.

If you were going through a divorce, success would be all about what you want. That means you, personally. What is the best situation for your life, right now? Do you want certain items out of your shared property? Do you need certain custody privileges with your children? We know that there are no right or wrong answers to these questions.

Termination of child support

Divorced parents may assume that the child support obligation ends once the child becomes an adult. However, because child support laws vary by state, and there are extenuating circumstances in which the court may either discontinue child support early or extend it past the usual cut-off point, parents in West Virginia should know how the laws apply to their situation.

Generally, the assumption is that once the child becomes 18 years of age (also referred to as the age of majority) and/or becomes self-supporting, the parent paying child support can take steps to discontinue it. However, there are some possible exceptions. For example, West Virginia law stipulates that child support payments can continue past the age of 18, but not extend past the age of 20, if the child a full-time student in good standing in a secondary educational or vocational program, provided that the child resides with a parent or guardian and remains unmarried. In cases where the child has special needs, the court may make an exception and extend child support past the age of majority.

The facts on annulment in West Virginia

Some residents of the Mountain State have probably heard of the concept of annulment. Married couples that are facing a failing marriage may wonder if they can get their marriage annulled, or they may think annulling a marriage is no different than a divorce. While some married couples in West Virginia can get an annulment, it is not the same as divorce and will not be available to everyone who is married.

A simple way to understand the difference between a divorce and an annulment is to think of when problems with the marriage had started. As Findlaw explains, a divorce stems from problems that occur during the marriage itself. These problems can include adultery, financial mismanagement, abuse, a lack of trust between spouses, or if the spouses simply grow apart. By contrast, a marriage can be annulled if there is an issue with the actual formation of the marriage. In other words, the two spouses should not have married in the first place.

How is child custody decided?

If you are getting a divorce and have children, then you will have to figure out custody arrangements. If you and your spouse cannot decide these arrangements on your own, then the court will get involved. When the court makes custody decisions, as explained by the West Virginia Legislature, they do so based on what is in the best interests of the child.

The best interests of a child means that the decision will provide the most stability for the child. It will ensure the child has time with both parents that allows for the cultivation of good relationships. In addition, the court wants to be sure that whoever is awarded custody has the ability to take care of all the child's needs and can protect the child from harm of any kind.

What is the process to adopt in West Virginia?

If you are ready to take the steps required to adopt a child in West Virginia, then it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the process. Adoption does not happen overnight.

The state is about to entrust you with the well-being of a child, so it wants to be sure you are ready and able to offer proper care. This means you must go through some steps before you bring your new child home as part of your family.

Is it worth it to hire a divorce attorney?

Unless you happen to possess professional negotiating experience, odds are that you may end up in over your head if you are headed for divorce court alone. You might fear you are about to lose a lot in the divorce anyway, so why spend money to hire an attorney? The answer is because a West Virginia divorce attorney will know what you are in for and how to help you come out of the divorce with more than you expected.

As the Huffington Post points out, divorce attorneys are likely to have prior experience with similar cases as yours, so they can provide legal options that you may not have even known about. The attorney you choose may have already presented cases before the judge that is presiding over your divorce and knows what the judge will and will not accept. The attorney can counsel you against making settlements that will not pass muster in court and wasting time, money and paperwork in the process.

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