West Virginia Judiciary

Rules of Practice and Procedure for Family Court

Take me to the top of the page.
Table of Contents Full Table of Contents
  1. Testimony of children
  2. Telephonic and videoconference hearings
  3. Continuances, scheduling conflicts and consolidation
  4. Presentation of evidence by proffer; limitation
  5. Contempt, modification and final hearings

Testimony of children
  1. Procedures for taking the testimony of children. — Rules 8 and 9 of the Rules of Procedure for Child Abuse and Neglect Proceedings shall govern the taking of testimony of children.
  2. Motion to offer the testimony of a child. — A motion to offer the testimony of a child under the age of 14 shall be in writing; and shall be filed with the circuit clerk, provided to the court, and served on all parties not less than 20 days before the hearing. The court shall rule on the motion no later than five days prior to the hearing.
  3. Response to a motion to offer the testimony of a child. — Any response to a motion to offer the testimony of a child under the age of 14 shall be in writing, and shall be filed with the circuit clerk, provided to the court, and served on all parties within not less than ten days before the hearing.

[Amended by order entered and effective December 1, 2005.]


Telephonic and videoconference hearings

The court may conduct any hearing, including an evidentiary hearing, telephonically or by videoconference, and may permit any witness to testify or be deposed by such methods. In telephonically conducted proceedings the official record shall be made in the manner prescribed by the court. Videoconference proceedings shall be conducted in accordance with the requirements established by the Supreme Court of Appeals.


Continuances, scheduling conflicts and consolidation
  1. Requirements for motion for continuance. — A motion for a continuance shall be in writing and shall concisely state the grounds. The motion shall be filed with the circuit clerk, and provided to the court and served on all parties not less than seven days before the hearing. A motion for continuance filed with the court less than seven days before the hearing shall be granted only in exigent circumstances that could not have been anticipated prior to seven days before the hearing.
  2. Action on the motion. — No continuance shall be granted except for good cause shown, and absent exigent circumstances, no motion for a continuance shall be granted unless all parties have been accorded an opportunity to respond. The failure of a client to adhere to financial arrangements with an attorney does not constitute good cause for a continuance. The grant or denial of a motion for a continuance rests with the sound discretion of the court, except that a party shall not be granted more than one continuance.  The order granting a continuance shall set the continued proceeding for a date certain, within 75 days from the date of the hearing being continued.
  3. Continuances on court's initiative. — A court may continue a hearing on its own motion for good cause. The court shall issue the order of such continuance for a date certain, no more than 75 days from the date of the hearing being continued. In addition to setting the hearing date, the order of continuance must state the following: that the cause of continuance is lack of service and the steps that will be taken to try to effect service (if applicable); or the specific grounds for the continuance.
  4. Sanctions. — Costs, expenses, and attorney's fees may be assessed against the moving party if good cause is not shown for a continuance, if the motion is filed late, or if the party has moved to continue any hearing more than once.
  5. Resolution of scheduling conflicts. — Scheduling conflicts shall be resolved pursuant to Rule 5 of the Trial Court Rules.
  6. Consolidation of simultaneous proceedings. — When two or more family court actions between the same two parties are pending before different family court judges, the court in which the first action was commenced shall order all of the actions transferred to it or any other family court in which such action is pending. The court to which the actions are transferred may order a joint hearing or trial of any or all of the matters in issue in any of the actions; it may order all of the actions consolidated; and it may make such other orders concerning proceedings as may tend to avoid unnecessary costs or delay.

[Amended by order adopted November 27, 2001, effective January 1, 2002; and by order entered and effective December 1, 2005; and by order adopted May 22, 2007, effective July 1, 2007.]


Presentation of evidence by proffer; limitation

With the exception of hearings on temporary relief, no hearing shall be conducted exclusively by the presentation of evidence by proffer.


Contempt, modification and final hearings
  1. Contempt/show cause and modification petitions and hearings. — A party may file a petition for contempt/order to show cause or modification of any order of the court. If grounds pled warrant a contempt/show cause and modification hearing, the hearing shall take place within 45 days of the filing of a petition for contempt/order to show cause or modification. If grounds pled not warrant a hearing then the court shall enter a dismissal order within 20 days.
  2. Conversion of hearing to final hearing. — By agreement of all parties placed on the record, any hearing may be converted to a final hearing if sufficient evidence is presented to sustain the cause of action and resolve all issues.
  3. Time for final hearing. — Except for good cause shown and placed on the record, a final hearing shall not be conducted prior to expiration of the time in which the respondent is required to serve an answer. A final hearing must take place within 220 days from the date of the filing of the initial pleading. The Court has the discretion to limit the duration of final hearings.

[Amended by order adopted May 22, 2007, effective July 1, 2007.]