WEST VIRGINIA DIVORCE LAWS:
The Residency Requirement: One spouse must have been a resident of West Virginia for one year immediately prior to filing for divorce. If the marriage was performed in West Virginia, the residency requirement is waived.
No-Fault: Living separate and apart without cohabitation for at least one year, such separation either voluntary by one spouse or mutually agreed upon; Irreconcilable differences.
Fault: Reasonable apprehension of bodily harm; False accusation of adultery or homosexuality; Conduct or treatment which destroys or tends to destroy the mental or physical well-being of the other spouse; Adultery; Conviction of a felony; Incurable insanity; Habitual alcohol or drug use; Willful neglect or abuse of spouse or child.
Property Division: West Virginia is an equitable-distribution, dual-classification state. That means property is classified as either separate or marital; separate property must go to the property owner, while marital property is divided between the parties “equitably.” Equitable means fairly, based on how the parties acquired and treated the property during the marriage; it does not mean equally. There is, however, a presumption that the court should divide the marital property equally (click the following for an expert's overview and key tips on dividing up property through divorce).
Alimony: Either spouse may be ordered to provide the other spouse with alimony, based upon 16 factors found in the statute. Alimony will not, however be awarded to a spouse who:
- committed adultery;
- has been convicted of a felony during the marriage;
- deserted or abandoned the other spouse for six months.
Child custody and child support: The judge will issue an order requiring parties with children to attend parent-education classes, unless it is ruled not necessary. As in every state, custody is based on “the best interests of the child.” Legal and/or physical custody may be awarded to the father or the mother.
West Virginia child-support guidelines use an income-shares model: the total obligation is divided between the mother and father according to their incomes. In general, for a combined gross monthly income of:
- $2,000, support for one child is $373; for two children, $540; for three children, $636.
- $5,000, support for one child is $656; for two children, $945; for three children, $1,106.
- $10,000, support for one child is $1,054; for two children, $1,524; for three children, $1,794.
West Virginia child-support guidelines can be found here: http://www.legis.state.wv.us/WVCODE/code.cfm?chap=48&art=13#13
Click the following for an expert's overview and a list of articles on child custody and child support.
The information supplied above is for "educational purposes only" and is not intended to be used as legal advice.