Regardless of how many years you have spent together with your spouse, filing for divorce can be an emotionally draining experience. It not only makes you lament the past but also raises questions over the future.

While you are going through this challenging time, the last thing you need is a problem in related legal processes. That’s why it’s essential to learn about the procedure to file for a divorce.

The general laws of divorce proceedings depend upon the area you live in. For instance, if you live in West Virginia, you may need to follow protocols set by the state legislature. Otherwise, your divorce may not go through as planned due to avoidable issues.

To ensure that you can execute your divorce proceedings without any problems, here’s an overview of how you can file for divorce in West Virginia.

Determine Your Eligibility

When you are filing for divorce in West Virginia, you need to determine your eligibility for the process. Fortunately, this factor is decided in a much easier fashion in the Mountain State than in many other jurisdictions.

You Don’t Need to Maintain Separation

Unlike many other states, West Virginia does not require you to maintain a specific period of separation from your spouse. This makes the process simpler to go through and allows you to file for a divorce within the jurisdiction without an extensive wait.

You Don’t Need to Hold a West Virginia Marriage License

Even if you were married in another state, you could still file for a divorce through West Virginia. This is applicable if you were either a bona fide resident of the state at the time of your marriage, or you have lived in the state for at least a year before your divorce filing.

In Most Cases, Your Spouse Isn’t Required to Be Present in the State

If you fulfill West Virginia’s other eligibility requirements, you can file for a divorce even when your spouse isn’t available in the state. However, there is one exception to the rule. Suppose your reason for divorce is adultery, your spouse needs to be present within state jurisdiction. Otherwise, your proceedings may not go through.

Choose Your Options Carefully

Once you determine your eligibility, you can choose between filing a no-fault divorce or a fault-based divorce.

No-fault Divorce

As the name suggests, the no-fault divorce option doesn’t necessitate the provision of a specific allegation that paints your spouse in a bad light. Instead, you can mention irreconcilable differences as the reason behind your decision.

For this type of divorce, you and your spouse need to provide a written intimation to the court. You also need to fill out the corresponding paperwork together.

Fault-based Divorce

Conversely, the fault-based divorce filing needs you to specify a reason that led to the rift in your marriage. This type of divorce is filed when you are unable to reach an agreement with your spouse about a no-fault divorce.

The reasons cited for a fault-based divorce include:

  • Voluntary separation. This asks for separate living conditions between spouses for at least one year.
  • Cruel or inhuman treatment. This includes physical or emotional harm.
  • Adultery. This allegation needs to be proven through evidence.
  • Conviction of a crime. This applies if your spouse gets convicted for a felony.
  • Permanent and incurable insanity. This refers to an incurable mental condition.
  • Alcohol or drug addiction. This pertains to addiction issues.
  • Desertion. This is where a spouse abandons the other for at least six months.
  • Abuse or neglect of a child. This allegation requires proper evidence.

Since the other party often contests a fault-based divorce, it’s important that you have strong legal representation in these cases. You also need to fulfill pertinent paperwork and forms.

Remember Child Custody and Child Support Options

If you share children with your spouse, you would also need to fulfill additional paperwork for child custody and child support claims. You must pay attention to this aspect since it can cause weighty arguments during divorce proceedings.

Having these details in mind helps you go through the process with relative ease and ensures that you don’t run into extensive problems along the way.

Contact a Divorce Attorney In West Virginia

Every divorce case is different which is why you should contact a divorce attorney in West Virginia to discuss your situation. Our team at Hilliard & Swartz, LLP will guide you through the process and make sure your rights are taken care of. Contact us today for a consultation!