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West Virginia Divorce Self-Help Center

Many customer West Virginia divorce questions are answered here.  Browse from the topics below or use the search box to narrow your search.
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General Information State Procedures   Custody, Visitation, Support
  Property and Debts   Special Circumstances Additional Resources
What is considered to be the date of separation in West Virginia? 2493
Here the term "separation date" refers to the date when the spouses decided to end the marriage with no intent to reconcile. This date is often a matter of interpretation. It is sometimes the date that the spouses stopped living together under the same roof, although in West Virginia, as long as the spouses consider the marriage over, do not intend to reconcile, and do not have a sexual relationship, they may seek a divorce even if they are living under the same roof.
Do we have to be separated to get a divorce in West Virginia? 2504
No. As long as the spouses consider the marriage over, do not intend to reconcile, and do not have a sexual relationship, they may seek a divorce even if they are living under the same roof.
Where do I file my divorce papers in West Virginia? 2489
Divorce paperwork is filed in the Circuit Clerk's office in the county courthouse.

If the respondent (defendant) is a resident of West Virginia, the petitioner (one filing for divorce), may file for divorce in the county where the respondent lives, or in the county where the couple last lived together as husband and wife.

If the respondent is not a resident of West Virginia, the petitioner may file for divorce in the county where the petitioner lives, or in the county where the couple last lived together as husband and wife.
Will either of us be required to attend a court hearing? 2491
Yes. In West Virginia, both spouses must attend the temporary and/or final divorce hearing.
How do I serve my spouse with the divorce papers in West Virginia? 2503
In West Virginia, formal service by a process server is not necessary when the Respondent signs an Waiver of Service of Summons, which is included in the DivorceWriter package.
Can I change my name in West Virginia divorce proceedings? 2505
In West Virginia, either spouse may request to take back the name used prior to his or her first marriage. The court may also allow either party to resume the name of a former spouse if such party has any living child or children by marriage to the former spouse. See W. Va. Code, § 48-5-613.
What are the West Virginia residency requirements for filing for divorce? 2495
If the marriage took place in West Virginia, then only one spouse needs to be a current resident of West Virginia.

If the marriage did not take place in West Virginia, one of the parties must be a resident of West Virginia for at least one year before filing for divorce.
How much is the filing fee in West Virginia? 2500
The DivorceWriter price does NOT include the filing fee charged by the circuit court clerk when you file for divorce. Fees can vary from county to county, but typically range from $125 to $175. Please note: the circuit court clerk's office only accepts cash, money orders or business checks.
How long does it usually take to finalize a divorce in West Virginia? 2502
West Virginia family court rules require that a final hearing for divorce may not be held until at least twenty (20) days have elapsed from the date the Respondent received the Petition for Divorce, but must take place within 220 days from the date the Petition for Divorce was filed with the Court.
What are the grounds for filing for divorce in West Virginia? 2496
West Virginia allows a divorce to be granted on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. See W. Va. Code, § 48-5-201.
Does West Virginia require divorcing spouses and/or their child(ren) to attend a class or seminar on coping with divorce? 2507
Yes. In divorce proceedings involving minor children, the parents are required to complete parent education. Once the education is complete, the parties will file a Certificate of Completion with the Circuit Clerk.
What are the basic steps to getting a divorce in West Virginia? 2499
1) The Petitioner files the initial divorce documents with the Clerk of the Circuit Court and serves the Respondent with copies of the divorce documents.
2) The Respondent files the required divorce documents.
3) If minor children are involved, the parents attend a parent education class.
4) Both spouses attend a divorce hearing, where the Judge will complete and sign a Final Order of Divorce.
What documents are included in the self-prepared West Virginia DivorceWriter package? 2501
Your self-prepared West Virginia DivorceWriter package will include:
  • West Virginia Divorce Filing Procedures
  • Petition for Divorce
  • Marital Settlement Agreement
  • Civil Case Information Statements s
  • Vital Statistics Form
  • Financial Statements
  • Acceptance of Service
  • Answer to Divorce Petition

If spousal support or minor children are involved, your DivorceWriter package will also include:
  • Bureau for Child Support Enforcement Application and Income Withholding Form
  • Parenting Plan
  • Child Support Worksheets
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We already have a child support order issued by a judge. Will we be able to keep the same amount? 2506
DivorceWriter provides the option to enter information regarding an existing child support order including the amount of support ordered and other identifying case information. Generally, you must also file a copy of already existing child support document(s) with the Family Court.
What if my spouse and I have agreed to use a child support amount that is different from the standard amount set by the Child Support Guidelines? 2492
Reasons for deviating from the guidelines may include, but are not limited to, the following:
1) Special needs of the child or person paying child support, including, but not limited to, the special needs of a minor or adult child who is physically or mentally disabled;
2) Educational expenses for the child or the parent (i.e. those incurred for private, parochial, or trade schools, other secondary schools, or post-secondary education where there is tuition or costs beyond state and local tax contributions;
3) Families with more than six children;
4) Long distance visitation costs;
5) The child resides with a third party;
6) The needs of another child or children to whom the person paying child support is also supporting;
7) The extent to which the person paying child support's income depends on nonrecurring or nonguaranteed income; or
8) Whether the total of spousal support, child support and child care costs subtracted from the person paying support's income reduces that income to less than the federal poverty level and conversely whether deviation from child support guidelines would reduce the income of the child's household to less than the federal poverty level.

See W. Va. Code, § 48-13-702.
When can a child support order be modified in West Virginia? 2498
Overall, if any of the factors which go into determining the child support obligation under the West Virginia income shares formula have changed to the extent that the new calculation would be more than fifteen percent more or less than the existing child support obligation amount that existing obligation can be modified.
How is child support calculated in West Virginia? 2490
West Virginia child support orders are determined according to the income shares formula: by dividing the total child support obligation between the parents in proportion to their income. The court can also take into consideration any unreimbursed child health care expenses, work-related child care expenses and any other extraordinary expenses agreed to by the parents or ordered by the court. See W. Va. Code, §§ 48-13-201 and 48-13-202.
What are the different types of custody in West Virginia? 2497
In joint custody, both parents come to an agreement and share legal as well as physical custody over their children and make joint decisions.

Sole custody grants one parent the right to make all legal and physical custody decisions.

Physical custody refers to the right to live with the child.

Legal custody grants one spouse the right to make any legal decisions over the upbringing of the child.
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Why do I have to complete financial disclosures in an uncontested divorce? 3877
More than half of the states require one or both spouses to complete a document listing th... more
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