Family Law Attorneys in Princeton
Serving Families throughout West Virginia since 1931
When a marriage needs to be legally dissolved, the whole family is affected. There are life changes that require adjustments to things such as child support or custody. At Katz, Kantor, Stonestreet & Buckner, our goal is to represent our clients in a way that will benefit them emotionally and financially as they encounter the difficulties that arise in decisions of divorce, custody, and child support. We can help you navigate through these hard times to reach a positive conclusion.
Grounds for Divorce in West Virginia
In West Virginia, couples who divorce must specify why the marriage is not working and must be legally severed. The most common ground for divorce is irreconcilable differences, which is a form of a no-fault divorce. Another form of no-fault divorce is a one-year separation. In order to claim a one-year separation as a ground for divorce, you must have a witness other than you or your spouse to testify to the fact that you have been separated from your spouse for one year.
In West Virginia, you can use either a no-fault ground or a fault ground for divorce. Some of the most common at-fault reasons for divorce include:
- One spouse is in prison
- A spouse is physically unable to have sexual intercourse
- Cruelty/domestic violence
Filing for a fault type of divorce can be advantageous to the spouse who is not at fault when there is a dispute over child custody or the division of marital property. This can also be used as a factor in determining alimony.
Residency Requirement for Divorce in West Virginia
In order to obtain a divorce in West Virginia, at least one spouse must be a resident of the state. If the marriage was performed in the state of West Virginia, there is no particular length of time that the spouse must be a resident. However, if the marriage was performed out of state, then one spouse must be a resident of West Virginia for at least one year before filing for divorce.
Division of Marital Property in West Virginia
Marital property is generally the property that has been acquired during the marriage. Property owned before the marriage and property that is inherited during the marriage is considered separate property and will generally not be included in the property to be divided. These separate properties will remain the possessions of the spouse who had them before the marriage ended, unless the property was comingled with marital property, which can make the division more complicated.
In West Virginia, the method used to divide marital property during a divorce is equitable division. Equitable division means that each spouse owns the income and property that they gain during the marriage and has the right to manage it any way they like without any input from the other spouse. During a divorce all the marital property of each spouse will be accounted for and divided. In West Virginia, the judge starts with a presumption that property will be divided equally, but may divide the property in a way that is the most fair to both parties.
Equitable division has three steps:
- Determination of what property is marital property and will therefore be a part of the division
- The property will be evaluated for its value
- Each spouse is given their share of the property
Contact Us Today
At Katz, Kantor, Stonestreet & Buckner, our experienced attorneys are compassionate, understanding, and know how to help you during some of the most difficult times that your family will face. If you need help with your divorce, or custody and child support, contact us today at our offices in Princeton and Charleston, West Virginia.
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