West Virginia Divorce Laws

West Virginia Divorce Requirements

The state of West Virginia requires individuals applying for divorce to first be West Virginia citizens for a minimum of one year prior to petitioning. These residency requirements are a necessity as all divorce cases are handled by the county district courts.

West Virginia divorceIf a court does not have the proper jurisdiction over a case, the case will be thrown out. If the individuals requesting a divorce were married in the state of West Virginia then the one-year residency requirement is eliminated.

Under West Virginia law individuals filing for divorce are required to file for divorce in their county of residency. If the West Virginia citizens reside in different counties, they may file for divorce in either county or in the county in which they last lived together.

If individuals were married in the state boundaries of West Virginia then the divorce petition is to be filed in the county of the marriage. If an individual is not a West Virginia citizen, he or she may file for divorce in the county of his or her spouse’s West Virginia residency.

Filing with the Court in West Virginia

You must file your West Virginia divorce papers in the court located in the County where you presently reside. We will provide the court information in the documents that we send to you, but some of the courts in West Virginia are listed below:

  • Kanawha County Family Court:
    Kanawha County Courthouse, 111 Court Street, Charleston, WV 25328 Phone: 304-357-0440 Fax: 304-357-0473
  • Cabell County Family Court:
    Cabell County Courthouse, 750 Fifth Avenue, Huntington, WV 25701 Phone: 304-526-8622 Fax: 304-526-8699
  • Raleigh County Family Court:
    Raleigh County Courthouse, 215 Main Street, Beckley, WV 25801 Phone: 304-255-9135 Fax: 304-255-9353
  • Mercer County Family Court:
    Mercer County Courthouse, 1501 W. Main Street, Princeton, WV 24740 Phone: 304-487-8371 Fax: 304-425-1598
  • Greenbrier County Family Court:
    Greenbrier County Courthouse, 200 N. Court Street, Lewisburg, WV 24901 Phone: 304-647-6626 Fax: 304-647-6666
  • Marion County Family Court:
    Marion County Courthouse, 211 Adams Street, Fairmont, WV 26554 Phone: 304-367-5360 Fax: 304-367-5374
  • Harrison County Family Court:
    Harrison County Courthouse, 301 W. Main Street, Clarksburg, WV 26301-2967 Phone: 304-624-8640 Fax: 304-624-8710
  • Wood County Family Court:
    Wood County Judicial Building, 317 Market Street, Parkersburg, WV 26101 Phone: 304-424-1700 Fax: 304-424-1804
  • Ohio County Family Court:
    Ohio Co. Courthouse, 1500 Chapline St., City/County Bldg., Wheeling, WV 26003 Phone: 304-264-3611
  • Berkeley County Family Court:
    Berkeley County Judicial Center, 380 W. South Street, Martinsburg, WV 25401 Phone: 304-264-1918 Fax: 304-262-3072
  • Putnam County Family Court:
    Putnam County Judicial Building, 3389 Winfield Road, Winfield, WV 25213 Phone: 304-586-0203 Fax: 304-586-0221

If your County court is not listed, the information for your court will be included in the divorce papers we send you.

Grounds for Divorce

When petitioning for divorce individuals are required to state the reasons for why they are requesting a divorce. These reasons are called the grounds for divorce. Spouses may agree upon divorce grounds together and present them to the court or one spouse may file for divorce on specific grounds but will then be required to prove those grounds before the court.

Each state has different grounds on which divorces are legal. Simply because one state has specific divorce grounds does not mean they are legal in the state of West Virginia.

No-Fault Grounds

A divorce is legal on the grounds of two sections: No-Fault grounds and Fault grounds. Grounds for divorce under No-Fault purposes do not cite one individual responsible for the divorce decree, as it is often mutual.

No-fault grounds hold two different categories. The first is where the individuals involved have resided at different residences for a minimum of one year. Under these terms, the time cannot be interrupted. This kind of separation can be due to mutual agreement or through the voluntary decision of one individual.

The second category is under irreconcilable differences where the individuals cite that the marriage is beyond repair. Under No-Fault grounds, individuals often enter into marriage counseling prior to filing for divorce.

Fault-Based Divorce in West Virginia

At some point, a marriage may no longer be salvageable due to circumstances that are out of the spouses’ control. When this occurs, a couple can seek a divorce based on fault grounds that must be legally proved in West Virginia. Here, we will explore the most common fault-based grounds for divorce and what you need to know about filing for one in the state.


Under West Virginia law, adultery is grounds for divorce if your spouse has committed it during the course of your marriage. You must prove that your partner secretly engaged in sexual relations with a person other than yourself. If proven, the court may award you alimony or distribute marital property in your favor.

Child Abuse or Neglect

Allegations of child abuse or neglect can result in a fault-based divorce. Depending on the severity of the situation, the court may put additional measures into place such as granting visitation rights with supervision or ordering one party to attend parenting classes or counseling.

Desertion for at least Six Months

Desertion is when one spouse abandons their marital duties by leaving without notification or consent from their partner for at least six months. This usually requires proof of abandonment, including evidence indicating that your spouse had no intention of returning to the marriage.

Habitual Drunkenness or Drug Addiction

If a spouse is addicted to drugs or alcohol and has frequently been under the influence for a period lasting two years or more, you can file for a fault-based divorce in West Virginia. The same two-year rule applies to addiction-related misconduct such as domestic violence or assault.

It’s important to understand your legal rights and the implications of each type of divorce before making any decisions about filing for one. Consulting an experienced family law attorney can help to ensure you are taking all of the necessary steps and avoiding any potential pitfalls.


How are assets divided in a divorce in WV?

When determining the division of assets during a divorce in West Virginia, the court typically follows the legal principle of equitable distribution. This means that assets are divided fairly between both parties based on their individual contributions to the marriage. The court may also consider other factors, such as whether the marriage was short or long-term, when dividing property.

What are the divorce laws in WV?

In West Virginia, the law dictates that couples are required to be legally separated for at least six months before filing for an official divorce. The court also needs to approve a “Property Settlement Agreement” that outlines how any marital property and assets will be divided before a divorce is finalized. If one spouse files a petition for divorce, they must provide proof that their partner has been notified and allowed time to respond.

How long do you have to be separated before divorce in West Virginia?

Couples must be separated for at least six months before initiating a divorce in West Virginia. During this period, the couple should attempt to reach a mutual agreement regarding the division of assets and other matters before heading to court.

How long do you have to be separated before divorce in Virginia?

In Virginia, spouses must either live separately for at least one year before divorcing or prove that there has been a breakdown of the marriage prior to filing. This includes evidence of physical cruelty, adultery, felony conviction, abandonment, or separation of more than six months with no cohabitation during that period.

Who gets the house in a divorce in West Virginia?

During a divorce case in West Virginia, the house is usually considered to be a marital asset and is subject to equitable distribution. However, if the home was acquired prior to the marriage or by gift or inheritance, it can be awarded to one spouse or kept by the original owner. The court will take into consideration various factors when deciding who should receive the house, such as who has been paying for its upkeep and taxes or who has greater contribution to the acquisition of the property.

How hard is it to get a divorce in WV?

Obtaining a divorce in West Virginia can range from simple to complex depending on the details of each individual case. Generally speaking, however, the process begins with the filing of paperwork which must comply with all state regulations. Next, your spouse must be served notice of your motion for divorce. Once they respond and both sides agree about issues such as child custody and support, alimony, visitation rights, property division and debt allocation, you will need to sign a Marital Settlement Agreement. After that document is approved by a judge, you can then proceed with your divorce.

What is a wife entitled to in a divorce in Virginia?

In Virginia, courts generally follow equitable distribution principles when dividing marital property during a divorce. Under this system, spouses may receive equal or disproportionate shares of property based on their contributions to the marriage. Additionally, Virginia law provides for spousal support and alimony payments based on criteria such as duration of marriage and earning capacity of both parties.

Does adultery affect divorce in Virginia?

In some cases, adultery can affect whether certain forms of spousal support are available, but it does not necessarily prevent a person from getting a divorce in Virginia. However, if one party can show that adultery negatively impacted their financial situation (e.g. if income decreased due to distraction caused by an affair), they might be able to successfully claim relief such as attorney fees and costs associated with investigating or proving the adulterous behavior.

Do you have to register separation with the court before divorce in Virginia?

No, you do not need to register your separation with the court before filing for divorce in Virginia. However, it is recommended that couples complete the necessary paperwork needed for dividing up shared assets such as bank accounts, real estate, and pensions before filing for the actual divorce decree. Doing so will save time and money down the road as these decisions have already been made.

Is dating while separated adultery in Virginia?

Yes, technically dating while separated could constitute adultery under Virginia law under certain circumstances. It is best for separating spouses to consult with an experienced lawyer first before making any relationship decisions during this period of limbo.

Are separate bank accounts marital property in Virginia?

Generally speaking, separate bank accounts established by either spouse prior to marrying are considered separate property and not subject to division during a divorce in Virginia. However, funds added into those accounts after marriage could become marital assets subject to equitable distribution depending on the individual circumstances of the case.

How many years do you have to be married to get alimony in Virginia?

Alimony is determined on a case-by-case basis and is not automatic like child support payments may be. The court typically considers factors such as duration of marriage, age, and health of both parties, earning capacity of both parties, fault grounds for the divorce (if applicable), and contributions made by each spouse during the marriage when making determinations about alimony payments.

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