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DO IT YOURSELF DIVORCE IN WEST VIRGINIA

Doing your own divorce in West Virginia is very common, especially when your divorce is uncontested. An uncontested divorce is one in which you and your spouse both agree on all the issues related to dissolving your marriage.

West Virginia Divorce Grounds

The no-fault grounds for divorce in West Virginia are living separate and apart in separate places without any cohabitation and without interruption for one year; or Irreconcilable differences between the two parties. The fault grounds include reasonable apprehension of bodily harm; false accusation of adultery or homosexuality; or conduct or treatment which destroys or tends to destroy the mental or physical well-being, happiness and welfare of the other and render continued cohabitation unsafe or unendurable; adultery as well as a felony Conviction, permanent and Incurable Insanity, habitual drunkenness or drug use, and willful neglect or abuse of spouse or child.

Residency for Filing for Divorce in West Virginia

At least one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for at least 1 year, except if the marriage took place in West Virginia, then the residency requirement is waived.

If the respondent is a resident of West Virginia, the petitioner may bring the action in the county in which the parties last lived or in the county where the respondent resides. If the respondent is not a resident of West Virginia, the petitioner may bring the action in the county where the parties last cohabited or in the county where the petitioner resides.

West Virginia Divorce Filing Process

In West Virginia couples with children, either biological or adopted, (including adopted children from a spouse's previous relationship) use one set of forms; childless couples use another. This is typically in most states as there is often more information needed by the court when you have minor children.

West Virginia online divorce process Couples with children file the Case Information Sheet, Petition for Divorce, Vital Statistics form, Financial Statement, Child Support Income Withholding form, Parent Education Registration form, Proposed Parenting Plan, and Fee Waiver Affidavit (for low-income state residents who qualify). Childless couples file all the same forms except those dealing with children.

The petitioner files the divorce papers in the county clerk's office. Some must be notarized, which means signing them under oath in front of a notary public. State law requires original plus one copy of the Petition for Divorce; original plus two copies of the Case Information Sheet; plus the Vital Statistics form, the Fee Waiver Affidavit, original plus one copy of Financial Statement; the Child Support Income Withholding form, the parent Education Registration form, and an original plus one copy of the Proposed Parenting Plan. Here is more information regarding the process of filing uncontested divorce papers in West Virginia.

The petitioner serves the divorce documents upon the respondent in one of a number of ways, including personal service, certified mail service, sheriff's service, service by publication, or pick up at the clerk's office.

Both parties exchange information about all their assets and debts in a financial statement, which identifies and lists all assets and liabilities as well as marital and separate property. Learn the best ways to save money when doing your own divorce in West Virginia.

Do It Yourself Online Divorce in West Virginia

Our online divorce makes it easy to file your own divorce in the state of West Virginia. In as little as 20 minutes you can have all your completed divorce forms and filing instructions ready for signing and filing. Instantly access your completed divorce forms after a short online interview. It is that easy, no lengthy completion or delivery times. See if you qualify below:

West Virginia Property Division

West Virginia is an equitable distribution state and uses the dual classification routine. Equitable division may not necessarily be an equal division, and the court does not consider marital misconduct.

The appreciation of separate property is separate.

Property acquired before the marriage, a debt incurred prior to the marriage, property acquired after the date of separation, property acquired during the marriage but kept separate, property acquired after a legal separation, gifted or inherited property, any property a spouse may have had provisions for beforehand, gifts or inheritances, and are separate and not included in community property.

In the financial disclosure, the same information is required of each spouse -- income from all sources, all expenses, a list of all assets and a list of all debts. The listed items should include everything owned jointly with the spouse. It should also indicate all separate property. Financial information is filed with the court and exchanged between spouses.

After the court classifies assets as marital or non-marital, it divide and distributes the marital property equitably. In dividing marital property, the court considers the extent to which each party contributed to the acquisition, preservation and maintenance, or increase in value of marital property by monetary contributions as well as non-monetary contributions; expended his or her efforts during the marriage in a manner which limited or decreased such party's income-earning ability or increased the income-earning ability of the other party; and may have conducted himself or herself so as to dissipate or depreciate the value of the marital property of the parties.

As in other jurisdictions, divorcing couples normally sell the marital home and divide the profits, or sell the home to one party and refinance, or the custodial parent occupies the house until the last child leaves school and then sell it.

The court may include the retirement benefits and plans earned by both spouses as marital assets available for division. Retirement plans are either Defined Contribution Plans (DC), such as a 401(k), or Defined Benefit Plans (DB), which is the company pension. That part of a pension accumulated during a marriage is community property and subject to distribution. When spouses share in each other's pension plan, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) must be prepared. The QDRO spells out the terms and conditions of the pension distribution.

West Virginia Alimony

In awarding alimony, the West Virginia courts consider the marital misconduct of spouses. Alimony is not awarded to an adulterous spouse, one convicted of a felony during the marriage, or a partner who deserts or abandons his or her spouse for 6 months. There must be a change of circumstances in order for a West Virginia court to modify or terminate an existing support award.

The court orders four kinds of support: permanent, which lasts for as long as the recipient is alive and does not remarry; temporary, which lasts for a limited time; rehabilitative, which is made for a limited time and designed to get the recipient where he or she can be reasonably self-supporting; and gross, which is a lump sum payment that the paying spouse only makes once or over a series of payments.

In awarding alimony, the court considers some 19 factors, including "such other factors as the court deems necessary or appropriate to consider in order to arrive at a fair and equitable grant of spousal support, child support or separate maintenance."

West Virginia Child Custody

The primary consideration in custody is the best interests of the child, according to the West Virginia Code. The judge in a custody case looks at several factors including who historically served as the primary caretaker of the child, the physical and mental health of the parents and the child, age of the child, and the type of residences maintained by each parent.

West Virginia law establishes a preference for parents resolving custody issues between themselves. The court possesses the power to issue custody orders when parents are unable to reach agreement. To that end, West Virginia law directs parties in any domestic relations case to develop a parenting plan. The parenting plan deals with the nuts and bolts of effective divorced parenting.

The statutes of West Virginia express a preference for permanence in child custody arrangements and for parents to share as equally as practically possible in the custody of a child in a divorce case.

Parents can modify these arrangements themselves, provided they focus on the best interests of the child. The court modifies a custody order upon a demonstration of a material change of circumstances, which means that the existing custodial arrangement is no longer in the best interests of the child, such as when a serious health problem prevents a parent from taking care of a child.

In most instances, joint custody is desirable and preferred. However, this is not awarded if the child's welfare is at risk with the other parent. If a parent wishes to modify the custody arrangement, he/she needs to provide sufficient evidence showing that the arrangement is not working or the child's welfare is at risk.

West Virginia courts often require divorcing parents with minor children to complete a mandatory parenting class before granting a divorce.

West Virginia Child Support

In West Virginia, child support guidelines are based on the income shares model, calculated on adjusted gross income. Support terminates at age 18, or up to age 20 if the child is still enrolled in secondary school. The court may award support for college tuition.

In the Income Shares model, a child receives the same proportion of parental income that he or she would have been received if the parents had not divorced because in an intact household, both parents pool their income and spend it for the benefit of all household members, including any children. Income Share considers the gross income of both parents and then establishes the proportion each contributes and divides it among their minor children.

If the noncustodial parent earns more than the custodial parent, the noncustodial parent assumes a higher share of the child's support, but if the noncustodial parent earns less than the custodial parent, he or she pays a smaller share of the support.

Extraordinary expenses are either add-ons, where the expense is added to the support payment, or deductions, where the amount is deducted, and indicated as either mandatory or permissive. Childcare and extraordinary medical expenses are considered mandatory deductions. Private school tuition is a permissive add-on.

The guidelines do not take into account the economic impact of the following considerations that may be reasons for deviation, such as special needs of the child or parent, including but not limited to, a minor or adult child who is physically or mentally disabled.

Service of Process for Divorce in West Virginia

Service of process requires delivering copies of all the divorce papers -- the summons and the complaint -- to the respondent. West Virginia offers a wide range of service options, including personal service, certified mail service, sheriff's service, service by publication, or pick up at the clerk's office.

Personal or substituted service may be effected by delivering a copy of the divorce papers to the respondent personally, or by delivering the papers to the defendant's dwelling place or usual place of abode to a member of his or her family who is older than 16 years and by advising the person of the purpose of the papers, or by delivering the papers to an agent or attorney-in-fact authorized by appointment or statute to receive or accept them on the individual's behalf.

The clerk, at the request of the plaintiff and upon payment of the applicable fees and costs of service, may send the papers by certified mail, return receipt requested, and delivery restricted to the addressee.

Service by mailing may be ordered when the plaintiff knows the residence of a defendant upon whom service has been unsuccessfully attempted.

A Simple Divorce Process
Step 1 See if you qualify & create account!
Step 2 Answer the questions at your own pace.
Step 3 Print, sign and file your divorce forms with your local court (instantly review & print your forms online or have them sent US Priority Mail at no additional charge).

START HERE

Only $299 (flat-fee)

or 2 monthly payments of $157
or 3 monthly payments of $109
or 4 monthly payments of $84
Payment Options Do Not Delay Divorce
Instant Delivery - Instant Changes
100% Guarantee of Court Approval
or Your Money Back
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Disclaimer: This is a quality non-lawyer self-help online divorce solution. The 3StepDivorceTM Documentation software and service is not a substitute for the advice of a lawyer. 3StepDivorce does not practice law and does not give out legal advice. This online divorce software and service allows you to represent yourself in doing your own divorce. If you need or desire legal representation, we recommend that you hire a lawyer. Click here to learn more. There may also be other pro se divorce options available by contacting your court.

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