Honaker v. Burnside

Honaker v. Burnside, 182 W. Va. 448, 388 S.E.2d 322 (1989) involved a custodial contest between a child's natural father and her stepfather, with whom she had resided since she was just over one year old. In recognizing that a gradual transition of custody from the stepfather to the natural father was warranted, we observed with respect to the child's longtime residence with her stepfather and half-brother that "these familial surroundings are the only ones she has ever known, and it is undisputed that she has developed a close and loving relationship with her stepfather." 182 W. Va. at 450, 388 S.E.2d at 323. Thus, by recognizing the significant role her stepfather had played in the child's life as her psychological parent, the Court accorded visitation privileges to him, as well as to the child's half-brother, despite the ultimate award of the child's custody to her biological father.