This provocative title of this two part article is true, but with a twist. There are “secrets” to a winning parenting plan. They start with “The Golden Rule”. If you do not want background and just want my “tips”, go to my next article, “The Secrets of Winning II”, which I published concurrently with this one:

  1. For purpose of this article, “winning” has a narrow, but important, definition. I think winning is a happy, emotionally healthy, child, not just the number of “overnights” with the child or amount of child support!
  2. There are two pending bills in the WV legislature that would change what the lay person considers “custody”. I don’t think they will pass, but they raised some interesting issues which I touch on below.
  3. If you have 1/2 hour, you can get background on “custody” and its  replacement, “parenting”,  in two of my blog articles”; see footnotes, ” ** ” below.
  4. Several years ago, in an effort to equalize the rights of fathers and mothers and reduce the adversarial nature of what some  people still call “custody fights”, the legislature replaced “custody” with the concept “shared parenting” (shared but not necessarily co-equal time), and replaced “visitation” with “time with the child”.
  5. That statute requires the family court to make findings as to the percentage of caretaking functions each parent, or a third party, did before their separation, and follow those percentages as a guide to time allocation in the court ordered parenting plan.
  6. Courts are also supposed to disregard temporary, post -separation, arrangements, because these are often artificial and against the wishes of one of the parents.
  7. I noticed in the most recent proposed bill, WV SB 243, a provision that will reward the parent most likely to keep the other person informed and involved in the child’s life. I sort of like that.
  8. For this article, I think it is a good idea for a separating or divorcing parent to assume that IS the rule and act accordingly, even though I doubt that particular bill will pass.

AND THAT’S THE POINT OF THIS ARTICLE (And Especially the One That Follows).

If the court is going to reward the parent most willing to involve the other parent, I have tips on how to “win” on that issue.

One caveat: there are lots of substandard parents, people who were not born with the gene of compassion, or raised in a way to nurture compassion and empathy. Some of them are dangerous and abusive, and some are drug or alcohol dependent, or all three! All efforts to “involve” such parents will fail, but giving them the information will bolster the position of the parent who does it.

This article is written primarily for the large majority of divorcing parents, who cannot stay together but who love their children. If you are interested in the particulars of my recommendations, just go to my next blog article, published concurrently with this one; “The Secrets to Winning II”;

**  (These are my background articles on custody in WV. jbh)

  a., and;

b. .

This post was written by Burton Hunter

1 Comment

  • Vanessa Perkins says:

    Very informative and accurate. Your knowledge of family law and perspective on the realities of divorce are spot on. Children would greatly benefit if parents would take your advice and follow the guidelines.

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