Steps to Getting a Divorce in West Virginia: If this is your first time filing for divorce, the primary thought that comes to mind is usually “I don’t know what to do,” and more specifically, “I don’t know where to start.” In this article, we’ll talk about everything related to divorce in West Virginia.
General Info To Know
All divorces are divided into two main types — fault-based and no-fault. Every divorce must have the grounds for divorce. However, the main difference between these two types is that in the first, you accuse the spouse of the dissolution of marriage, and in the second, you do not. A no-fault one is also often referred to as an uncontested divorce.
This kind of divorce is considered fast and effortless since it does not imply disputes between spouses in court. The essence of an uncontested divorce is that the ex-partners sign a Settlement Agreement in advance. This paperwork resolves all issues regarding child custody, property division, alimony, spousal support, etc.
Also, a no-fault divorce allows you to contact an online divorce service. No, you cannot be divorced through the Internet, but such platforms will help you fill out all the necessary forms based on the specifics of your particular situation. It is quick enough and affordable. Moreover, such services often provide a 100% court-approval guarantee.
However, before you start a divorce process of any type, you need to make sure that you or your spouse meets the West Virginia residency requirements.
When getting a divorce in West Virginia, pay attention to the following rule. If your marriage was registered in West Virginia, the court would review your case if you or your spouse are currently residents in the state. And if you married out of state, a West Virginia court will take over your issue if you or your spouse has lived in the state for at least one year before providing the divorce papers.
Grounds for Divorce
There must be a good reason for the divorce that the West Virginia judicial system accepts. In the event of no-fault divorce, you declare that your spouse is not responsible for the dissolution of marriage. In this case, there are two grounds for divorce:
- You and your partner have irreconcilable differences, which means that there is no hope that you and your spouse can save the marriage;
- You or your spouse have not lived together for at least one continuous year as a married couple.
If we are talking about a fault-based divorce, you argue that your spouse is to blame for the dissolution of the marriage. You ask the court to divorce you on the following grounds:
- Your spouse has treated you cruelly or inhumanly.
This includes situations where your partner causes you to have a reasonable fear of bodily harm or injury, treats you in a way that destroys your mental or physical well-being, falsely accuses you of adultery, etc.
- Your spouse cheated on you.
It means voluntarily having sex with another person, and you can prove this with clear and convincing facts.
- Your spouse is convicted of a felony after marriage.
The verdict must be final and applies to any state.
- Your spouse is incurably insane.
In this situation, the following statements should be factual:
- Your spouse was in a mental hospital or similar facility for at least three consecutive years before you filed for divorce;
- The judge has heard competent testimony from a medical professional confirming that insanity is incurable.
- Your spouse has addictions.
They are regularly under the influence of alcohol or drugs and cannot stop using.
- Your spouse abused or neglected your child physically or mentally.
This includes sexual assault, failure to provide medical care, necessary support, education, or any other care for which they are legally responsible. In this case, you must prove child abuse to deprive the spouse of custody of the child.
- Your spouse has left you.
They left your home for at least six months against your will. In this situation, both of these statements must be true:
- You sincerely asked them to come back;
- They rejected your offer.
The Main Steps of the Divorce Process
After you have figured out the type of divorce and the grounds for it, you can proceed to the step-by-step guide. Of course, these steps can be supplemented with new ones, depending on your specific situation. However, the general procedure for divorce in West Virginia includes the following points:
Step 1: Fill Out the Necessary Divorce Papers
To begin with, you fill out all the necessary documents yourself or use an internet divorce service. The second option, of course, will be easier. Next, you take the completed forms to the court of jurisdiction where you or your spouse live.
Step 2: Pay the Registration Fee
If you are filing for divorce yourself (without the help of a lawyer), you will need to pay a fee. It varies depending on the state: in West Virginia, it will cost from $155 to $160.
Step 3: Serve Documents to Your Spouse
You must notify your spouse about the desire to divorce them. Knowing the address of your partner, give them copies of all divorce documents. State law prohibits spouses from personally serving each other, so you can ask anyone over the age of 18 or the sheriff to deliver documents to your former partner.
Step 4: Wait for the Final Hearing and Divorce Decree
After your spouse signs the divorce papers, you provide the court with a form confirming the partner’s signature. This point is very critical – without it, the court will not consider the case.
Your spouse has 30 days from the date of signing to agree to or dispute the terms of the marriage dissolution. Then, when the spouses finally resolve all the issues, the couple signs a Settlement Agreement and concludes the divorce process with a final hearing.
For each spouse to be ultimately satisfied with the court’s decision, it is worth keeping calm and respectful throughout the entire process. With a step-by-step guide at hand, it will be easier not to be distracted.