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Divorce Laws in West Virginia

West Virginia courts may, but are not required to, order parents involved in divorce to attend parenting classes.

Residency and jurisdiction in West Virginia
At least one spouse must live in West Virginia for at least one year before filing for divorce unless the marriage took place within the State, in which case there is no time requirement.

Divorce may be filed in the county where the couple last lived together when married or if the defendant lives in the state, in the county where the defendant lives. If the defendant does not live in the State, divorce may be filed in the county where the filing spouse lives.

Fault or no fault and grounds for divorce in West Virginia
West Virginia allows fault and no fault divorce. No fault divorce will be granted on either of the following grounds:

  • Living separately for at least one year without sexual relations
  • Irreconcilable differences

Acceptable grounds for fault divorce are as follows:

  • Fear of bodily harm
  • False accusation of adultery or homosexuality
  • Cruelty or intolerable treatment
  • Adultery
  • Felony conviction
  • Incurable insanity
  • Habitual alcohol or drug abuse
  • Intentional neglect

Division of property in West Virginia
West Virginia is an "equitable distribution" state meaning the property is not divided 50/50 but rather in a manner that the court deems fair to both parties. Fault is not considered when dividing property, but the following factors will be considered by the court:

  • Financial contributions to the acquisition, maintenance and value of the property
  • Non-monetary contributions to the acquisition, maintenance and value of the property
  • Damage to earning capacity caused by the marriage
  • Contributions to the education and earning capacity of the other spouse
  • Inappropriate dissipation of assets

Spousal support in West Virginia
Spousal support, in West Virginia, may be temporary or permanent. When determining spousal support the court must consider the following factors:

  • Length of marriage
  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Current income
  • Earning capacity
  • Property division
  • Age and physical, mental, and emotional health
  • Education
  • Damage to economic circumstances and earning capacity caused by the marriage
  • Ability to become self supporting
  • Contribution to the education or earning capacity of the other spouse
  • Expense of training or education needed to become self supporting
  • Cost of educating minor children
  • Cost of health care
  • Child custody and its effect on employability
  • Financial needs
  • Ability of spouse, from whom support is sought, to pay spousal support while remaining self supporting
  • Costs and care associated with a child’s mental or physical disabilities
  • Tax consequences

Child custody and support in West Virginia
West Virginia favors parenting plans made and agreed to by the parents outside of court, and will approve such agreements whenever reasonable. In awarding custody and visitation the court must strive to facilitate:

  • Stability of the child
  • Decision making by and cooperation between parents regarding the child’s living arrangements and upbringing
  • A close relationship between the child and each parent
  • Caretaking by adults who love the child, know what the child needs, and will place a high priority on the child’s well-being
  • Safety of the child
  • Quick and reasonable decision-making regarding the child’s care and control

West Virginia follows the Income Shares Model for calculating child support.

If you are considering or facing divorce in West Virginia, contact an experienced West Virginia divorce attorney today.

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Disclaimer: Divorce law information contained throughout this page is intended to generally inform you about divorce law in West Virginia and introduce you to divorce lawyers throughout the U.S. The information regarding divorce and divorce law is not meant to be taken as legal advice. If you like to speak with an experienced divorce attorney, click on the link to your state to find an experienced divorce lawyer in your area for an initial consultation.
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