West Virginia Mother Wins Back Legal Custody From … Babysitters

It’s a very strange case. The kind that is hard to believe had to go up to the highest court in the state of West Virginia to get straightened out … any court at all really.

It was not disputed that the mother here was fit (or at least not seriously disputed).

But two West Virginia judges actually ruled that a biological mother had to share custody with distant relatives of her child, who had acted as babysitters for the child. And an intermediate level appellate court upheld those rulings.

(In fact, at one point in the case, the sitters briefly had primary physical custody and the mother had visitation!)

The judges found the relatives to be coparents – and therefore ordered shared parenting and rotating custody (where the child “bounces” from home to home) – before the mother could relocate to another state.

On the second appeal, the Supreme Court of West Virginia reversed the courts below, ruling that the relatives had no standing to intervene in the relocation case and ordering full custody restored to the natural mother.

The high court affirmed that a natural parent has the right of custody unless that parent is unfit or willfully gave up custody.

Read more in this West Virginia Record article: Supreme Court restores full custody to mother from babysitters.