West Virginia Divorce Laws, Attorneys & Family Lawyers WV


West Virginia divorce rate is relatively above the median point. It is 5.2% per 1,000 of the total population. There are both no-fault and fault divorce grounds found in West Virginia. For no-fault divorce, the court shall not require you to submit any proof or confirmation whereas if the case is on the fault grounds a substantial proof must be provided to the court docket.

In West Virginia, divorce rate is higher than that of annulment. Divorce is preferred over annulment. It is found in limited situations. West Virginia courts have made the requirements of annulment difficult so that it is only filed for on genuine grounds for annulment.

Getting help and assistance from a divorce lawyer can make your divorce legally more easy and quick.

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Divorce Grounds in West Virginia

You can obtain divorce under the following divorce grounds in West Virginia:

No-Fault Divorce Grounds in West Virginia

Following are the no-fault divorce grounds in West Virginia:


Both you and your spouse can claim divorce if both of you have been leading separate lives with no cohabitation. Separation is one of the most common divorce grounds in West Virginia.

Irreconcilable differences

If you and your spouse have serious differences and irreconcilable problems, both of you can file divorce decree under this divorce ground in West Virginia.

Fault Divorce Grounds in West Virginia

Fault divorce grounds in West Virginia are:

Apprehension of Bodily Harm

You can obtain divorce under this divorce ground in West Virginia if you are in possible danger of aggression from your partner. For this you will have to furnish the divorce court with evidences regarding physical violence you have endured so far.

False Accusation of Adultery or Homosexuality

A false accusation of adultery or homosexuality is considered a legitimate divorce ground in West Virginia. If your spouse accuses you of one of these, you can divorce him or her on this divorce ground.

Treatment to Destroy Physical or Mental Well-being

Torturing the spouse mentally or physically and thus destroying the happiness, making cohabitation unsafe or unendurable, is a valid divorce ground in West Virginia.


If you spouse is an adulterer, you can claim divorce under this fault divorce ground in West Virginia.

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Conviction of a Felony

You are also entitled to divorce if your spouse commits a felony and is imprisoned for it. This divorce ground in West Virginia is constituted to bail out an innocent person from a relationship with a criminal.

Permanent and Incurable Insanity

A certification by a certified surgeon of your spouse’s incurable sanity validates your claim for divorce. Since a relationship no longer remains normal, permanent and incurable insanity is a valid divorce ground in West Virginia.

Habitual Drunkenness or Drug Use

Habitual intoxication of drugs or liquor i.e. opium, cocaine or morphine is a divorce ground. As the drugs can influence the mental well being of a person, the petitioner can use this as a divorce ground in West Virginia.

Wilful Neglect or Abuse of Spouse or Child

If you are not properly treated and your rights as a spouse or your child’s rights are being neglected, you can petition for a divorce decree on this divorce ground in West Virginia.

Contact a professional divorce attorney or divorce lawyer for detailed information regarding divorce grounds in West Virginia.

West Virginia Divorce Laws

West Virginia has following divorce laws:


In order to file for a divorce in West Virginia, residency requirements set by West Virginia divorce laws must be met for the court to accept the case. The residency requirements are as follows:

  • At least one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for at least 1 year. But incase the marriage took place in West Virginia; the 1 year residency requirement is waived.

Documents Required for Filing Divorce

  • Petition for Divorce
  • Decree of Divorce

These are the essential documents needed to start and finalize a divorce according to West Virginia divorce laws.

Property Distribution

Since West Virginia is an “equitable distribution” state, the marital property is divided in an equitable (fair) fashion. An award may be ordered of the exclusive use and occupancy of the marital home to a party. An order granting use and occupancy of the marital home includes the use of any necessary household goods, furniture and furnishings.

Change of Name or Restoration of Name

According to West Virginia divorce laws, the court, upon ordering a divorce, shall if requested to do so by either party, allow such party to resume the name used prior to his or her marriage.

Mediation Counseling

If the divorce involves a minor child, the West Virginia divorce court takes every possible measure to minimize minor children from emotional trauma. Under West Virginia divorce laws, the divorce court furthermore orders parents to appear in educational sessions in order to resolve the custody disputes.


Alimony is an issue that involves support from one spouse to the other. The obligation of one spouse to support the other financially for a temporary or permanent basis is decided on a case-by-case basis as agreed to by the parties or at the West Virginia divorce court’s discretion.

Child Custody

When minor children are involved in a divorce, the West Virginia courts do everything possible to help lessen the emotional trauma the children may be experiencing. If the parents cannot come to an agreement regarding the issues involving the children, the divorce court establishes the custody order at its discretion. The basic focus of the court is to serve the child’s best interests.

Child Support

West Virginia divorce laws’ child support guidelines are based on the Income Shares Model for calculating child support. If the parents do not agree on a reasonable support amount, the basic child support obligation is determined by state child support guidelines and worksheets.

Contact a professional divorce attorney or divorce lawyer for comprehensive divorce laws information of your state

West Virginia Annulment Laws

Annulment is a decree declaring an already null marriage void. After you file a petition in the court, annulment in West Virginia takes about 60 days to process. However the process is complex and the grounds difficult to prove. To get West Virginia annulment, you must prove one of the following grounds set by the West Virginia annulment laws:


Marital relationship with a blood relation like father, mother, son, daughter, uncle, niece etc is incest. It is a valid annulment ground according to West Virginia annulment laws.

Mental Illness

If either of the parties is mentally ill and the illness is incurable and it is testified by a certified surgeon, the court grants West Virginia annulment.


Bigamy means having two spouses at the same time. If you or your spouse has more than one spouse, both of you can file for annulment according to West Virginia annulment laws.


If your spouse has misrepresented him or herself or gained your consent for marriage by fraud, you can get your marriage annulled under West Virginia annulment laws.

West Virginia Divorce Laws- Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the residency requirements mandatory in West Virginia divorce laws?

    In West Virginia divorce laws, it is clearly stated that to file for West Virginia divorce you must be a resident of West Virginia for at least 1 year.

  2. What if the marriage took place in West Virginia. Am I still required to meet the residency requirements?

    Under West Virginia divorce laws; there is no residency requirement for the marriages which took place in West Virginia.

  3. My spouse does not reside in West Virginia; can I still claim a West Virginia divorce?

    There is no such condition that both the spouses must be living in West Virginia to file a divorce. The divorce will be granted if either of you resides in West Virginia.

  4. How is the property divided under West Virginia divorce laws?

    West Virginia divorce laws follow equitable distribution procedure for division of property. Under which the property is divided among the spouses according to the court orders.

  5. What is marital and separate property?

    Marital property is that property which is purchased during marriage by both the spouses. While separate property is one which is acquired by one spouse only. If one spouse claims that the property is not separate, then the defendant must prove that it is his/her private property.

  6. On what conditions, alimony is granted?

    The main purpose of alimony is to help a spouse in meeting financial requirements. Alimony is the transfer of money or assets from one spouse to another after a divorce to fulfil his/her necessities.

  7. How is child custody awarded in West Virginia?

    In West Virginia, the court grants child custody solely or jointly to any spouse. The basic aim of the court is to consider the best interest of the child. The child is given full freedom to choose whether to live with mother or father.

  8. Is there any restriction that I and my spouse cannot hire the same divorce lawyer?

    According to West Virginia divorce laws, under no condition you and your spouse are allowed to proceed in the court with the same divorce lawyer. The West Virginia divorce laws say that it isn’t possible to acquire the services of the same divorce lawyer by two divorcing parties for a West Virginia divorce.

  9. What is joint and sole custody?

    The court considers child’s best interest and grants sole or joint custody to the parents. Sole custody is one in which child lives with only one spouse and the other one has the right of visitation. In joint custody both the spouses make decisions regarding the children.

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