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.

If 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.

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 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 Grounds for divorce under No-Fault purposes do not cite one individual responsible for the divorce decree, as it is often mutual.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 Grounds

Fault grounds cite one individual responsible for the divorce decree. West Virginia divides its Fault section into seven categories. The first of these is the attempt to bodily injury a spouse. Either spouse may be responsible for this act.

The second is that of committing mental or psychological abuse or inflicting harm to an individual’s physical body. Either spouse may inflict such harm for a divorce to be valid.

The third is that of accusing adultery of either spouse or homosexuality.

The fourth is that of committing adultery by either spouse.

The fifth is that of willfully neglecting a child or a spouse or abusing a child or a spouse.

The sixth is that of incurable and permanent insanity.

The final Fault ground is that of felony conviction.