WEST VIRGINIA DIVORCE
In an action for divorce at least one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for at least 1 year, except if the marriage took place in West Virginia, the 1 year residency requirement is waived. The divorce shall be filed as follows: (a) If the respondent in an action for divorce is a resident of this state, the petitioner has an option to bring the action in the county in which the parties last cohabited or in the county where the respondent resides. (b) If the respondent in an action for divorce is not a resident of this state, the petitioner has an option to bring the action in the county in which the parties last cohabited or in the county where the petitioner resides.
If you have minor children living with your spouse in another state for over six months then you should consider filing in that state as that court has jurisdiction over the children. You spouse can waive that jurisdiction in writing.
County of Filing:
You should file the divorce in the county your spouse lives in, or in the county that you both lived in when you separated, or in your county if your spouse lives out of state. You or your spouse must have a West Virginia address in the county of filing. West Virginia civilian residents living overseas may file in West Virginia if they have maintained their residency in West Virginia.
Active duty members of the military (or their spouses) may file in West Virginia if they have been stationed in West Virginia for 12 months or were residents of West Virginia when they entered active duty. Smart Divorce.com staff includes former active duty officers and enlisted personnel and are completely knowledgeable on the special military requirements and the “Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act”. Our staff prides themselves on the service they provide our military members.
GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE: NO-FAULT or FAULT ?
No-Fault Based Grounds: Irreconcilable differences between the two parties.
OR Living separate and apart without cohabitation for at least 1 year. The separation may be voluntary by one spouse or mutually agreed upon.
Fault Based Grounds:
(1) Reasonable apprehension of bodily harm; (2) False accusation of adultery or homosexuality; or (3) Conduct or treatment which destroys or tends to destroy the mental or physical well-being of the other spouse (4) Adultery. (5) Conviction of a Felony. (6) Incurable Insanity. (7) Habitual Alcohol or drug use. (8) Willful neglect or abuse of spouse or child.
WAITING PERIOD:West Virginia law requires that a final hearing for divorce may not be held until at least twenty (20) days have elapsed from the date of service of the Petition upon the Respondent [thirty (30) days if the Respondent was served by publication].
PROPERTY OF THE MARRIAGE:
In a divorce, the property (land, house, buildings, and items of personal property) owned (and debts owed) by the couple is divided between the parties. In an uncontested divorce, this division is accomplished by means of a Marital Separation Agreement (MSA). You and your spouse must agree to the property and debt division and memorialize your agreement in the Marital Separation Agreement, which will be incorporated by reference into the Decree of Divorce that ultimately ends your marriage. You may agree to divide the property any way you like, as long as a basic fairness is maintained. You do not need to list items already divided or not an important issue in the divorce. You may revise the MSA after receipt of the documents from us by sending an email with your changes. There is never a charge for revisions at any time up to one year.
If you cannot agree on any item of this division, the dissolution of marriage transforms into a contested divorce. If at the final hearing the divorce is still contested we do not provide advice for that hearing. You may need to consult an attorney or be prepared to tell the judge why you feel your requested division of property is fair.
Spousal Support is either agreed upon by the parties or determined by the judge in a contested hearing. We cannot give legal advice regarding spousal support but will include your request in the documents.
The questionnaire you fill out will outline the custody, visitation and support for the children. We will prepare the documents accordingly, and we will also prepare a Marital Separation Agreement (at no additional cost) which outlines in specific detail all the provisions regarding the children. Both parties must attend the parenting class or get a waiver. A list of the places in West Virginia to attend may be obtained from the court.
The child support will either be an amount you and your spouse agree upon, or it will be determined for you by the court, according to the West Virginia Child Support Guidelines. If you wish the court to calculate the amount then you will need to file the standardized Child Support Guidelines form and Child Support Income Statement/Affidavit which we provide. See “West Virginia Child Support Calculator” on any search engine such as Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc.
You may have Joint Legal Custody or Sole Legal Custody. This determines how the decisions are made regarding the raising of the child(ren).
Physical custody may be with one residential parent or “SPLIT CUSTODY” where the child(ren) live a substantial time with each parent.
This can be any program agreed upon by the parties and may change from time to time. If the parties cannot agree then the state guidelines are in effect. State guidelines are outlined in the MSA provided with your documents. You do not need to list your present visitation agreement as it will change from time to time but you may if you wish. “No Visitation” or “Restricted Visitation” may be requested by supplying the reason on the questionnaire.
You must file the divorce documents in the Circuit Court in the county that you are filing in. Some court addresses for larger counties are as follows:
Kanawha County Family Court: Kanawha County Courthouse, 111 Court Street, Charleston, WV 25328 Phone: 304-357-0440 Fax: 304-357-0473
Cabell County Family Court: Cabell County Courthouse, 750 Fifth Avenue, Huntington, WV 25701 Phone: 304-526-8622 Fax: 304-526-8699
Raleigh County Family Court: Raleigh County Courthouse, 215 Main Street, Beckley, WV 25801 Phone: 304-255-9135 Fax: 304-255-9353
Mercer County Family Court: Mercer County Courthouse, 1501 W. Main Street, Princeton, WV 24740 Phone: 304-487-8371 Fax: 304-425-1598
Greenbrier County Family Court: Greenbrier County Courthouse, 200 N. Court Street, Lewisburg, WV 24901 Phone: 304-647-6626 Fax: 304-647-6666
Marion County Family Court: Marion County Courthouse, 211 Adams Street, Fairmont, WV 26554 Phone: 304-367-5360 Fax: 304-367-5374
Harrison County Family Court: Harrison County Courthouse, 301 W. Main Street, Clarksburg, WV 26301-2967 Phone: 304-624-8640 Fax: 304-624-8710
Wood County Family Court: Wood County Judicial Building, 317 Market Street, Parkersburg, WV 26101 Phone: 304-424-1700 Fax: 304-424-1804
Ohio County Family Court: Ohio Co. Courthouse, 1500 Chapline St., City/County Bldg., Wheeling, WV 26003 Phone: 304-264-3611
Berkeley County Family Court: Berkeley County Judicial Center, 380 W. South Street, Martinsburg, WV 25401 Phone: 304-264-1918 Fax: 304-262-3072
Putnam County Family Court: Putnam County Judicial Building, 3389 Winfield Road, Winfield, WV 25213 Phone: 304-586-0203 Fax: 304-586-0221
The court filing fees for a divorce in West Virginia is approximately $155.
If your spouse won't sign and must be served, then the sheriff may charge a fee of around $25 to serve your spouse.
If you don't know the whereabouts of your spouse, then your spouse will need to be served by publication. The average publication fee is approximately $75.
You may call the Clerk of the Court in your county to determine the exact fees in your county.
METHODS OF SERVICE:
1. The most common way is to have your spouse sign the documents AFTER you have filed the complaint with the court. You can hand deliver the documents , mail them or have a third party deliver them to your spouse. This method is available even though your spouse is incarcerated.
2. If your spouse will not sign or you not not sure if your spouse will sign then you can get service by having the sheriff in spouse’s county serve a copy of the filed documents along with other documents requiring spouse’s signature. You can contact the sheriff in any state to serve your spouse. You can also get service by Certified Mail, (Return Receipt Requested) if your spouse lives out of state. If your spouse is incarcerated then you can get service by having the prison/jail officials serve your spouse.
3. Service by publication. If you cannot find your spouse after a diligent search then you can publish. The publication fee for the newspaper is approximately $65 but varies for different counties. Upon the filing of the Affidavit the clerk shall direct that service of notice be made by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the complaint is filed. We provide all the required documents for service by publication.
Go to our questionnaire and get started today.