West Virginia Divorce Steps

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West Virginia is a state which puts specific conditions on the applicants for divorce for residency. The law of west Virginia states that if a marriage is registered in the state, then any one party must be a resident of a state if a couple wants to obtain a divorce. If a marriage has been registered in any other state, then one party should be a resident of the state for a continuous period of one year. The divorce petition is to be filed in the county where any one of the partner resides. Some other West Virginia divorce steps are as below.

Forms involved in West Virginia Divorce Steps

For all divorce cases:

  • Petition for Divorce: When this document is filed, the process of the court begins
  • Civil Case Information Statement
  • Vital Statistics Form
  • Financial Statement: Must be filed in the office of the circuit clerk within five days prior to the first hearing or conference

Additional forms needed in divorce cases involving minor children

  • Application for Child Support Enforcement and Income Withholding Services: This must be attached to the Petition
  • Proposed Parenting Plan: This must be filed prior to the first hearing
  • The following documents must be attached to the Financial Statement:
    • A copy of the most recent salary or wage stub indicating deductions for taxes, gross pay and net pay for a normal pay period
    • Copies of both divorcing partner's complete income tax returns for two years immediately before the date of filing of the Petition and copies of Form W-2 for these two years and a copy of Form W-2 for the most recent year
    • In case of business owners and self employed individuals, a copy of the present financial statement having details like net income, expenses and gross income
    • Copies of receipts or invoices that serve as evidence for the following:
      • Extraordinary medical expenditure of the parties or the children
      • Child care expenses
      • Expenditure due to any special requirements of the children

Moreover, the divorcing couple must attend the Parent Education Class prior to the first hearing.

Additional forms needed in divorce cases where child support and spousal support is requested

All the forms mentioned in "divorce cases involving minor children" with the exception of "Proposed Parenting Plan" are essential. Spousal support will be granted by taking some factors into consideration like income, education levels and future plans of both partners.

If the method of Publication is used for service

  • Affidavit of Non residency

West Virginia Divorce Steps regarding filing and service

In case the Respondent is residing in this state, then

  • The Petitioner may file in the county wherein the Respondent resides, or
  • The Petitioner may file in the county wherein both the divorcing partners last resided together
In case the Respondent resides outside this state or the address of the Respondent is not known, then
  • The Petitioner may file in the county wherein he or she presently resides, or
  • The Petitioner may choose to file in the county in which the couple was staying before getting separated

The Petition, the Summons along with other documents is collectively called "the divorce papers." It is the Petitioner's responsibility to serve these papers to the Defendant. One of the following methods may be employed:

  • Service by Certified Mail
  • Personal service by Private Process Server
  • Acceptance of Service
  • Personal service by Sheriff's Department
  • Service by Publication

The Respondent is allocated 20 days from the date of service (30 days if service by publication is used) to file an Answer to the divorce papers.

Divorce Steps regarding hearings

  • When the duration for filing the Answer has terminated, the court schedules a first conference or hearing also known as the case management conference
  • The court dispatches a notice to the Petitioner to convey the following information:
    • The date, time and place of the hearing
    • Whether a Family Court Judge or a Case Co-coordinator would oversee the hearing?
    • Whether any additional documents must be filed prior to this hearing?
  • During the hearing, the divorcing partners can offer testimony, the witnesses can offer testimony and the divorcing partners can produce evidence
  • In some cases, the first hearing is the final hearing while in others, number of hearings are necessary
  • When the Family Court Judge signs a Final Order, it means that the couple is legally divorced

In this manner, the West Virginia divorce steps give a full account of the requirements and essentials for a divorce in this state.

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