West Virginia Judiciary

Rules of Practice and Procedure for Family Court

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  1. Parent education; course content; mandatory attendance; information reporting
    1. Advanced Child-focused Parent Educations

Parent education; course content; mandatory attendance; information reporting
  1. Course content. — All parent education courses shall be subject to approval by the Supreme Court of Appeals, and shall educate and instruct parents about the following matters: (1)how to prepare a parenting plan; (2)mediation and other non-judicial methods available to assist parents in achieving agreement on a parenting plan; (3)the negative effects on children of divorce and family dissolution, and the ways in which parents can lessen those negative effects; (4)the negative effects on children of domestic abuse; (5)resources available for dealing with domestic abuse.
  2. Mandatory attendance. — In proceedings involving minor children the parents shall be required to complete parent education, and shall file with the circuit clerk a certificate of completion. For good cause shown, parent education may be waived if the court places on the record a finding attendance is not necessary, and states the specific reasons for the finding. In the absence of such a waiver, parent education shall be completed by both parents prior to any mediation or other non- judicial dispute resolution undertaken to achieve agreement on a parenting plan. If mediation or other non-judicial dispute resolution is not required, parent education shall be completed by both parents prior to the final hearing. If one or both parents have failed to timely complete parent education, the court may halt proceedings, and in such circumstances shall enter a scheduling order setting the next hearing for a date certain and requiring the parents to complete parent education prior to that hearing. For good cause shown the court may conduct proceedings despite the failure of one or both parents to timely complete parent education.
  3. Information reporting. — All court personnel and providers of parent education shall provide the Supreme Court of Appeals such information as the court determines to be necessary for assessing these programs.

[Amended by order adopted November 27, 2001, effective January 1, 2002 and by order entered and effective December 1, 2005.]


Advanced Child-focused Parent Education
  1. Course format and content. — In addition to the mandatory parent education class described in Rule 37, family courts in regions designated by the supreme court of appeals may order parties in proceedings involving minor children to attend advanced child-focused parent education classes sponsored by the supreme court of appeals. The advanced child-focused parent education classes shall include six sessions and educate parties on reducing parental conflict, focusing on their children’s best interests, and effectively negotiating parenting plans. Parties in a particular case shall attend the class together, unless otherwise ordered by the court.
  2. Mandatory attendance. — Family courts in designated advanced child-focused parent education regions may order parties to attend advanced child-focused parent education classes for reasons including, but not limited to, the following: repeated court appearances on modification and/or contempt issues related to parenting time and decision-making authority; parties’ apparent inability or unwillingness to resolve conflict effectively; or parties’ communicating inappropriate messages through the children or speaking negatively about the other party or the other party’s family in the presence of the children. Only by order of the court may parties attend the advanced child-focused parent education classes approved by the supreme court of appeals.
  3. Screening. — Before parties may attend advanced child-focused parent education classes together, the family court shall consider whether domestic violence, child abuse or neglect, acts or threats of duress or coercion, substance abuse, mental illness or other such elements would adversely affect the safety of a party or the ability of a party to participate meaningfully, freely, and voluntarily in the parent education class. If the family court determines that it is inappropriate for the parties to attend the class together, then it may require the parties to attend separate classes.
  4. Fees. — The Fee for each party to attend is $60, which includes $10 for each of the six advanced child-focused parent education sessions, classes. The fee for each class shall be paid in full prior to attending for a total of $60 and is payable to the circuit clerk in the county in which the case is pending. The clerk of the circuit court shall, on the or before the tenth day of each month, shall transmit all fees collected under this rule to the state treasurer for deposit in the state treasury to the credit of the special revenue fund known as “parent education fund” established by West Virginia Code, Chapter 48, Article 9, Section 104. The order requiring parties to attend an advanced child-focused parent education class shall specify the fee each party shall pay prior to attending the advanced child-focused parent education class. A party who has filed a financial affidavit and received a fee waiver shall not be required to pay a fee. The family court may review any fee waiver in accord with W. Va. Code 51-2A-8(e). The family court, in its sound discretion, may waive or reduce the fee for a party who has not filed a financial affidavit or the family court may require one party to pay the fees for both parties.
  5. Presenters and Security. — Presenters of the advanced child-focused parent education classes shall be selected by the family courts and approved by the supreme court of appeals. Presenters shall use a class format approved by the supreme court of appeals. Each child-focused parent education session shall have a security guard in attendance.
  6. Confidentiality. — Advanced child-focused parent education sessions shall be considered confidential settlement negotiations subject to Rule 25.12 of the Trial Court Rules. An advanced child-focused parent education presenter shall maintain the confidentiality of all parent education sessions and records. The only information that a presenter shall provide to the court is the number of sessions that a party completes. An advanced child-focused parent education presenter shall not be subpoenaed or called to testify or otherwise be subject to process requiring disclosure of confidential information.
  7. Information Reporting. — All court personnel and providers of advanced child focused parent education shall provide the supreme court of appeals such information as the court determines necessary for assessing these programs.
  8. Immunity. — Advanced child-focused parent education presenters shall have immunity in the same manner and to the same extent as a family court judge.

[Added by order adopted June 25, 2008; amended by order entered and effective January 22, 2009.]