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Getting Answers For Your Divorce Questions

Last updated on May 14, 2024

When going through a divorce, you will likely have a lot of questions about what lies ahead of you. Trying to make the right decisions without the information you need can be extremely difficult, which is why we at the Charleston office of Lyne Ranson Law Offices, PLLC, want to answer some of your more common questions here:

What paperwork do I need to file for a divorce?

There are several important documents that you will need to file for divorce. West Virginia courts require the following documents:

  • Petition For Divorce – The document that begins the divorce process. This document provides a court with reasons as to why they should grant a divorce and discusses matters such as asset division, child support and alimony, and child custody.
  • Petitioner’s Civil Case Information Statement – This document includes information about the parties involved with the divorce, and you will need to provide three copies of the document.
  • Financial Statement – You and your spouse will list your total assets, liabilities and income on the document. If you have children or other spousal support obligations, you will need to also include that information.
  • Vital Statistics Form – You will use this document to report information like any births, deaths, marriages and divorces related to the divorce you are applying for.

If you have children or intend for spousal support to be involved in your divorce, you will also need to include an application for child or spousal support, a proposed parenting plan and a parent education notice. We can help you compile these documents for your divorce.

What is the difference between a contested and uncontested divorce?

In an uncontested divorce, spouses work together to agree upon the terms of their divorce, including matters like asset division, child and spousal support, and child custody agreements.

In a contested divorce, when spouses are unwilling or unable to agree on the terms of their divorce, they will take their case to court and resolve things through litigation.

Between the two options, uncontested divorces often resolve with less time, money and energy necessary to settle things. Contested divorces, however, are more likely to reach a resolution as they have a judge presiding over the case.

What will I get to keep after my divorce?

The two categories of property that assets will fall into during a divorce are marital property and separate property. Marital property refers to the belongings that either spouse acquired during their marriage, and separate property involves assets that a spouse had before they were married or that were specifically gifted or bequeathed to a spouse during the marriage.

West Virginia courtrooms use equitable distribution to divide marital assets, a form of division that presumes that all marital property will be split evenly between spouses. The separate property that each spouse owns will likely remain uninvolved in the divorce process.

How long will it take to resolve my divorce?

Depending on factors like whether a couple pursues a contested or uncontested divorce and how long litigation takes, the length of a divorce will vary. However, the average time it takes to resolve a divorce in West Virginia is about one year.

Is it possible to serve my spouse with divorce papers in person?

State law prohibits anyone from serving their spouse with divorce papers directly. Instead, a spouse will need an adult without involvement with the divorce to serve the papers. Spouses will commonly hire a sheriff or a professional service to deliver divorce papers.

Is a spouse required to sign divorce papers?

A spouse does have the right to refuse to sign any divorce papers, but that will not stop the divorce process. If a spouse refuses to sign the papers, other steps will be necessary to resolve the divorce.

What happens if my spouse will not sign the divorce papers?

If your spouse does not voluntarily sign the papers, you may need to go through a court bailiff or a process server to resolve your divorce. Your spouse may also have to pay the additional costs resulting from them not signing the paperwork.

Can I modify divorce documents after they have been signed?

Once a divorce has been finalized, it is still possible to modify it. There will need to be a valid reason for the modification, and you will need to file a motion to modify the divorce. We can help you navigate this challenge if it is necessary.

Can my spouse and I choose to mediate our divorce in West Virginia?

Mediation can be an excellent way for West Virginia residents to handle their divorces. The benefits of divorce mediation are numerous: not only is it more affordable and less time-consuming than divorce litigation, but it allows couples greater confidentiality and more control over important matters.

Attorney Lyne Ranson has helped hundreds of clients through divorce mediation. Speak with Lyne today to learn whether it is an appropriate option in your situation.

How do couples divide debt?

In West Virginia, marital debts are divided in the same manner as marital property. Because West Virginia is an equitable distribution state, this split will not necessarily be 50/50, though it will be fair to each party.

What role does infidelity play in a divorce?

Under West Virginia law, adultery – also known as infidelity – is grounds for a fault-based divorce. Adultery can also affect crucial matters during divorce proceedings, such as alimony and potentially child custody. If adultery is a factor in your divorce, a West Virginia divorce attorney can provide you a with comprehensive understanding of its potential impact.

How Do I Prepare For My Divorce?

If you need more answers about your divorce or are ready to meet with a skilled and committed family law attorney, contact us today. Call us at 304-932-0591 or email us here to schedule your initial consultation today.