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West Virginia Family Law

West Virginia Family Law


West Virginia family law is a set of regulations that govern the relationships between individuals who are related by blood, marriage, or adoption. The law addresses important issues such as marriage, divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, and property division. This article will discuss the key provisions of West Virginia family law and provide the latest updates on the topic using government resources.


In West Virginia, individuals can get legally married if they are at least 18 years old or if they are 16 or 17 years old and have the consent of their parents or legal guardians. However, individuals under the age of 16 cannot legally get married in West Virginia. West Virginia law also recognizes common-law marriage, which is a legal marriage that has not been solemnized by a minister or other official.


West Virginia is a no-fault divorce state, which means that a couple can get a divorce without having to prove that one party was at fault or to show evidence of marital misconduct. The grounds for divorce in West Virginia are irreconcilable differences, which means that the couple has been living apart for a year or longer and there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation. In some cases, a couple may be eligible for a divorce on the grounds of adultery, cruel treatment, abandonment, or other specified reasons.

Child Custody

West Virginia law favors joint custody, which means that both parents share legal and physical custody of their child. However, if joint custody is not in the best interests of the child, the court may award sole custody to one parent. Factors that are considered in determining custody include the child’s age, physical and emotional health, educational needs, and any history of abuse or neglect by one or both parents.

Child Support

In West Virginia, child support is determined based on the income of both parents, the number of children involved, and other factors such as the cost of childcare and health insurance. The court uses a formula to calculate the amount of child support that is owed, which takes into account each parent’s income and the amount of time the child spends with each parent. Child support is typically paid until the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school, whichever comes later.

Spousal Support

Spousal support, also known as alimony, is awarded in West Virginia on a case-by-case basis. The court considers several factors in determining whether spousal support is appropriate, including the length of the marriage, the age and health of each spouse, and the financial resources of each spouse. Spousal support can be temporary or permanent, and may be paid in a lump sum or in regular payments.

Property Division

West Virginia is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital property is divided fairly but not necessarily equally between the parties in a divorce. Marital property includes all property acquired by either spouse during the marriage, including real estate, cars, bank accounts, investments, and retirement accounts. Separate property, which is property that was acquired by one spouse before the marriage or through inheritance or gift, is not subject to division. The court considers several factors in determining how marital property should be divided, including the length of the marriage, the age and health of each spouse, and the financial resources of each spouse.

Updates and Resources

West Virginia family law is subject to change over time, as new legislation is passed and court decisions are made. The following government resources provide up-to-date information on family law in West Virginia:

West Virginia State Legislature – The West Virginia State Legislature website provides access to all current and historical state laws, including family law statutes. The site also includes information about the legislative process and upcoming sessions.

West Virginia Judiciary – The West Virginia Judiciary website provides information about the state court system, including the Supreme Court of Appeals, circuit courts, and family courts. The site includes forms and instructions for filing family law cases, as well as information about court procedures and services.

West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources – The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources website provides information about child support services in the state. The site includes information about how to establish and enforce child support orders, as well as resources for parents who are seeking custody or visitation.


West Virginia family law is complex and covers a wide range of issues that affect individuals and families throughout the state. Whether you are seeking a divorce, custody of your child, or financial support from your spouse, it is important to understand your rights and obligations under the law. By using the resources provided by the West Virginia State Legislature, Judiciary, and Department of Health and Human Resources, you can stay up-to-date on the latest developments in family law and ensure that your legal rights are protected.

Quick Guide to WV Family Law 

Where can I find the majority of West Virginia Family Laws?

You’ll have to visit the revised statutes under the WV Legislature in order to view a complete list of all updated WV family law.  Once you begin searching for West Virginia family law, you’ll want to reference several different chapters depending on your need.

In this article, you’ll find general information on West Virginia family law and specifically marriage requirements, divorce, adoption, child custody, and other commonly accessed areas of WV family law.  If you are referencing West Virginia family laws for legal help, you are highly advised to consult with a WV family law attorney before proceeding with any settlement process.

Specific West Virginia Family Laws

Some general information about sections of West Virginia family law within several different chapters is listed below.  For more information on WV family law, visit the link under the state’s legislature below and proceed mainly to chapters 48 and 49:

Chapter 48-2 Marriages

This chapter of WV family law provides prerequisites for a valid marriage, as well as who cannot marry in the state of West Virginia.  This chapter also contains information on West Virginia family laws for licenses and other contracts, as well as who is legally allowed to solemnize a marriage.

Chapter 48-5 Divorce

This article of West Virginia family law is one of the most frequently accessed chapters under the state’s legislature.  This specific chapter on WV family law covers general grounds for divorce (§48-5-201 through 209), and other sections cover property division (§48-7), methods of payment for spousal support (§48-8), and much more.  There are multiple other sections of West Virginia family law that may prove helpful in divorce proceedings.

Chapter 48-22 Adoption

This chapter West Virginia family law provides general provisions for adoption such as who may adopt a child (§48-22-201), information about petitions, financial disclosures, investigative procedures from a child-placing agency, and much more.  If you are searching West Virginia family laws for legal advice on adoptions, talk to an attorney right away.  A West Virginia family law attorney is often required in most adoptions anyway.

Chapter 48-20 Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act

This chapter of West Virginia family laws provides detailed information about conditions for child custody.  West Virginia family law for support obligations is located in §48-11, and there are many more sections that address conditions for child support and custody.  For more information about child custody, talk with your WV family law attorney.

How to Search West Virginia Family Laws

Consider the follow search techniques if you search West Virginia family laws:

1. Stemming- this technique includes adding suffixes onto your search, such as divorces, divorcing, divorced, or more

2. Wildcards- a wildcard allows you to search multiple words using an asterisk, and adopt* will usually bring you to adopted, adoption, adopting, adoptive, adoptable, and more.

3. Missing variables- you can search for a missing variable with a question mark, and wom?n will bring results associated with woman, women, and more

4. Boolean Operators- you should always consider using and, or, and not to limit your searches as well