West Virginia Divorce Law
West Virginia Residency Requirement
According to the West Virginia Divorce Laws and West Virginia Divorce Guidelines, to get divorced in West Virginia, one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for at least 1 year immediately before filing the case. However, if the marriage was performed in West Virginia there is no Residency Requirement.
Place of Divorce (Venue)
The case may be filed in:
(1) County in which the spouses last lived together
(2) County where the defendant lives if a resident
(3) County where the plaintiff lives if the defendant is a non-resident
Simplified or Special Divorce Procedures
If 1 spouse files a verified complaint for divorce on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences,” the other spouse may file a verified “answer” admitting the “irreconcilable differences” and a divorce will be granted. No witnesses will be necessary for any proof for a divorce on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences.” In other cases, witnesses will be required. Standard financial disclosure forms are required to be filed.
West Virginia Grounds for Divorce
Grounds for a No-Fault divorce:
(1) Irreconcilable differences have arisen between the spouses or
(2) living separate and apart without cohabitation and without interruption for 1 year
Grounds for a Fault based divorce:
(2) abandonment for 6 months
(3) alcoholism and/or drug addiction
(4) confinement for incurable insanity for 3 years
(5) physical abuse or reasonable apprehension of physical abuse of a spouse or of a child
(6) conviction of a felony
(7) cruel and inhuman treatment, including false accusations of adultery or homosexuality
(8) willful neglect of a spouse or a child
(9) habitual intemperance
- Agreed Divorce , defined by West Virginia divorce guidelines and West Virginia divorce laws, is a scenario where the spouses agree on the terms of the divorce such as West Virginia property distribution, West Virginia child support, or West Virginia child custody. Most of our clients (75%) prefer the Agreed Divorce method and both spouses sign the divorce papers and are agreed to the terms of divorce.
- Default Divorce , according to the West Virginia divorce guidelines and West Virginia divorce laws, is a divorce where the other spouse doesn’t sign the West Virginia Divorce forms or West Virginia divorce papers, he/she doesn’t do anything at all with the divorce. They simply default on the case and the spouse who files for divorce gets whatever was asked for in the original paperwork.
Process to file for Divorce in West Virginia
There are only three basic procedural steps to a divorce:
- File West Virginia Divorce Papers (West Virginia Divorce Forms)
- Notify Spouse of your filing for divorce in West Virginia
- Attend your West Virginia divorce hearing
West Virginia Child Custody
Simple Definitions: (source: West Virginia divorce guidelines and West Virginia divorce laws)
- Visitation is the plan the spouses have on where the children will live and when the children will see the other spouse
- Legal Custody is the decision ability of the parents in the lives of the children. Such as, where the children will attend school and which church they will go to.
- Physical Custody pertains to the place where the children will live and which parent they live with.
West Virginia Child Custody in a shared arrangement, in one form or another, is the preferred method of our West Virginia divorce customers. If a sole custody arrangement is to be considered, then there is usually a reason agreed upon by both parties that one parent is to have the children. Usually the financial status of a parent is not to be considered for allocating any parental rights and responsibilities. Shared Custody or Sole Child Custody may be awarded according to the best interests of the child.
West Virginia Child Support
If the parents are unable to agree to an amount of child support, there are guidelines that determine the amount of support based on the West Virginia Child Support Guidelines. The guideline amount is presumed to arrive at an amount of support that is in the child’s best interest. But, most divorcing spouses agree to a figure on their own, that will work just fine. Also, in most situations, -0- Child Support is OK if both spouses are working and can manage.
In an Uncontested “Agreed Divorce” or “Default Divorce” the property is divided so that both parties agree to the division. The main concern here is to agree to the property division so that it doesn’t create a fight that one party will want to go to a West Virginia divorce lawyer or divorce attorney to make the case into a Contested Divorce. Then you will have to incur the fees of a lawyer too.
- Debts: Most divorcing spouses set out who will pay what debts as part of their marital settlement agreement during the divorce process, and close all of their joint accounts.
- Alimony: In an Uncontested Divorce, Alimony may be awarded to either spouse for their support and maintenance after the divorce. Both parties must agree to it. Since most spouses are working, alimony (if awarded at all), is usually for a shorter period of time, and smaller amount than in the past. Alimony may be paid in a lump sum payment of money or a payment plan. Alimony is not required for a person to get divorced in West Virginia.
If you do not know where your spouse is and cannot locate him/her, after diligent effort, you may still get a divorce in West Virginia. It may involve the extra expense of running a newspaper ad or something similar. We help you through the process.
Wife’s Last Name
The Wife may receive her Maiden Name back in the Divorce if she wishes. We include this name change in our service for FREE. Divorce in West Virginia often includes a name change.
Court Filing Fees
The Court filing fees are not included in the price of our service. To file for divorce in West Virginia, fees must usually be paid when you file the West Virginia divorce forms and West Virginia divorce papers at your county courthouse. These fees vary between County to County, so it is best to call them and ask what the fees are in your County. Regardless of whether you are going through a divorce service, using a West Virginia divorce kit, using a divorce attorney (or divorce lawyer), or doing a nearly free divorce in West Virginia, you will almost always be the one to cover the court fees which is standard procedure.