West Virginia Divorce Law

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West Virginia Divorce Guidelines

West Virginia's Residency Requirements

Either spouse must have been a resident of West Virginia for 1 year or more before filing for divorce.

If the marriage was performed in West Virginia, and one spouse is still a West Virginia resident, there is no residency requirement.

West Virginia's Grounds for Divorce

West Virginia residents may file for divorce under fault or no-fault grounds.

West Virginia's no-fault grounds include:

  • irreconcilable differences
  • continuously living separate and apart without cohabitation for 1 year or more

West Virginia's fault grounds include:

  • abandonment for 6 months or more
  • adultery
  • cruel and inhuman treatment

West Virginia's Child Custody Guidelines

Divorcing parents are allowed to collaborate on a child custody arrangement. If the parents cannot reach a decision, a West Virginia court will make a ruling.

West Virginia courts consider factors such as:

  • any evidence or history of domestic violence
  • each parent's ability to provide stability and predictable decision-making
  • whether each parent will encourage the relationship between the other parent and the child

West Virginia's Child Support Guidelines

If the parents cannot agree on the amount of child support and the paying parent, child support will be decided by state-specific calculations and guidelines.

West Virginia courts consider factors such as:

  • whether each parent's income falls below the federal poverty level after deducting spousal support, and child care and support costs
  • each parent's other financial obligations
  • any special needs of the child

West Virginia's Spousal Support Guidelines

Spousal support can be paid in one lump sum, in installments, or periodically. The spouses may determine the spousal support amount and payment schedule, or the courts may award spousal support.

West Virginia courts consider factors such as:

  • duration of the marriage
  • any marital fault
  • each spouse's education, earning capacity, employment history, and contribution to the home
  • whether one spouse contributed to the other's education, career, and earning capacity

West Virginia's Property Division Guidelines

West Virginia has adopted equitable distribution guidelines, which means all property (including gifts and inheritances) will be divided as fairly and equally as possible. Spouses may collaborate on the property distribution, but if they are unable to agree the courts will make a ruling.

West Virginia courts consider factors such as:

  • the value of each spouse's separate property and assets
  • each spouse's earning capacity
  • each spouse's contribution to the property, including acquisition and upkeep

West Virginia's Venue Guidelines

The petitioner may file the divorce forms in their West Virginia county of residence, or in the respondent's West Virginia county of residence.

The divorce forms may also be filed in the last West Virginia county the spouses resided in together.

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Roger from Vienna, WV
Jun 18, 2012
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Jun 18, 2012
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