Skip to main content

Are you a legal professional? Visit our professional site

Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

West Virginia Divorce Laws

Sometimes we just want to flee a bad relationship. Unfortunately, states have quite a few legal hoops to jump through before we can end a marriage. Getting a divorce these days might be easier than ever, but the Mountain State still has some processes you must follow. Here is a quick introduction to divorce laws in West Virginia.

West Virginia Divorce Laws

A state’s legal requirements for divorce set out the process by which we may dissolve a marriage. The details of West Virginia’s divorce laws are listed below.

Code Section

West Virginia Code 48-5-101 et seq.: Divorce

Residency Requirements

If cause is adultery, one party must be resident at time action brought; if defendant is nonresident and service cannot be effected within the state, the plaintiff must have been a resident for 1 yr. prior to commencement of action. If ground other than adultery, one party must be resident at time the cause arose or since then has become a resident and lived in state 1 yr. before action; if parties married in West Virginia, then only one must be resident upon filing-no specified length of time.

Waiting Period


'No Fault' Grounds for Divorce

Separation (1 yr.)


Irreconcilable differences


Defenses to a Divorce Filing

Condonation; connivance; plaintiff's own misconduct; offense occurred more than 3 yrs. prior to divorce action; collusion is not a bar (48-5-301); adultery: voluntary cohabitation after knowledge.

Other Grounds for Divorce

Adultery; cruelty or violence; drug/alcohol addiction; insanity (confined for 3 yrs. prior to complaint); conviction of crime subsequent to the marriage; neglect or abuse of child; abandonment or desertion for 6 mos.; irreconcilable differences if other party admits. (48-5-201); also lived apart without cohabitation and without interruption for one year.

No Fault Divorce Laws

West Virginia offers what is known as a “no fault” divorce, under which you don’t have to prove (or even allege) that your spouse engaged in any specific wrongdoing in order to get divorced. Instead, you only have to tell the court that you and your spouse have “irreconcilable differences,” and the court may grant your divorce and make orders regarding child custody and support.

There are also some legal alternatives to divorce, like an annulment or legal separation. These processes have their own separate requirements and may only apply to specific circumstances. And if you have any shared minor children with your spouse, you should be familiar with West Virginia child custody laws, as well as state child support guidelines and child support enforcement regulations. FindLaw’s section on Divorce can also provide you with additional articles and resources on this topic.

Get Legal Help with Your Divorce Case West Virginia

A divorce can be both emotionally and legally difficult to deal with, but, luckily, you don't have to go through it alone. If you're going through a divorce in West Virginia, you can contact a skilled local divorce lawyer who can guide you through the process, represent you in court, and handle any negotiations with your spouse.

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.

Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • Divorces are tough and a lawyer can seek the best outcome
  • A lawyer can help protect your children's interests
  • Divorce lawyers can secure alimony, visitation rights, and property division

Get tailored divorce advice and ask a lawyer questions. Many attorneys offer free consultations.


 If you need an attorney, find one right now.

Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options