West Virginia Divorce
No matter how either party decides to handle or approach a divorce case, certain steps must be followed, dates met, and information compiled to present to a court.
In West Virginia, divorce cases are filed with the Circuit Court Clerk's office in the county of residence.
Hiring an attorney is recommended, especially in a contested divorce case, but is not a mandatory part of the process in a successful divorce case.
Process of Divorce in West Virginia
The preparation of a divorce in West Virginia can be handled and prepared mostly online, but a computer is not mandatory either.
The following steps are provided by the West Virginia courts to outline the divorce process, and ensure that everyone has a consistent process to follow.
Keep in mind that every divorce is slightly different, so these steps are just the general steps for divorce in West Virginia, and for more complicated issues, as stated above, it is recommended that a person contact an attorney for legal counsel.
Steps to Divorce in West Virginia
- Learn about divorce law in West Virginia. Numerous websites are available to help a person filing without the help of an attorney.
- In fact, the legislature placed the full text of the West Virginia Code online for anyone to read and use to help prepare any type of legal case.
- In addition to the code itself, gather a variety of legal sources both online and offline to aid in the understanding of the law.
- Contact the particular Family Court or Circuit Clerk's Office before gathering all paperwork and personal data to ensure that any and all local requirements are met.
- Gather all information involved in the divorce such as financial records, property information, and financial matters. Try to come to an agreement on all issues because an uncontested divorce case saves time and money.
- Obtain and complete all of the necessary forms for starting a dissolution case. All forms can be completed online with the help of an agency, attorney, or through the West Virginia court's website. Both forms and instructions are available online or from the circuit clerk's office. Certain divorce forms must be filed with the petition.
- Make all necessary copies of each form once it is completed and signed in front of a notary.
- File the papers with the court clerk's office and determine what the deadlines are for filing all forms after the case has been initiated. Filing includes paying all filing fees or asking for a fee waiver.
- One of the West Virginia divorce forms that must be filed with the clerk's office and served to the other party within 5 days prior to a hearing is a financial statement listing all finances.
- Pay the fee to attend a parent education class when the petition is filed. (Only for cases involving children)Arrange to serve the appropriate papers to the other party (respondent).
- Serve the petition and other required documents. The sheriff's department can accomplish personal service. The law does permit process servers outside the sheriff's department to serve, but certain conditions must be met. Try to get personal service yourself by presenting the other party with all documents and having them sign an acceptance of service. Serve by other means such as certified mail or publication depending on the circumstances. The respondent has 20 or 30 days to serve the filer with an answer.
- Attend any conferences or hearings that are necessary for the divorce case. The Family Court's Case Coordinator conducts conferences and the Family Court Judge conducts hearings. At least one of the individuals involved in the case must attend the final hearing. The final hearing is where the court issues the divorce order making the divorce final.
Throughout the steps above, keep in mind that parties involved in a West Virginia divorce must be mindful of deadlines related to filing papers and preparing documents by specific dates.
If deadlines are not met or individuals do not show up for conferences or hearings, it can severely hurt the case for the individual or even result in court imposed penalties.
As you can see from the above information, an uncontested divorce in West Virginia is in the best interest of everyone involved. Uncontested divorces are not only cheaper and faster, but they allow both individuals to agree on how to split everything.
A contested divorce case can involve multiple hearings and people usually need the help of an attorney before proceeding with the case. In a contested divorce, many people feel that neither one of them "win."
Listed Below is a link to a comprehensive overview of Divorce in the State of West Virginia. Please read and prepare yourself before contacting an attorney. Once you have educated yourself, contact an attorney before going to court. Do NOT go to court alone. Contact our office for courteous, competent representation.