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Common Concerns in West Virginia Divorce

How Does the Court Determine Property Division and Alimony?

One of the things that’s very common when people are thinking about a divorce is to be concerned about how any property is going to be divided and whether or not they’re going to have enough money to live on after the divorce. It’s important to consider this when you’re making that very important decision as to whether or not you’re going to get a divorce. One thing that the court will do is look at any assets that either you or your spouse own and then determine whether or not that is an asset that is going to be divided by the court because it’s marital property or whether it’s separate property.

An example of something that would be separate property would be a home that was fully owned without mortgage before the marriage. Now, there are some factors that can complicate that after the marriage, but in general, that’s an easy thing to look at and say that is going to be at least substantially separate property.

Something that would be marital property is a pension plan. If the couple got married in 1999 and neither of them were working a job with a 401K or some sort of pension plan, then they get jobs and say the wife has a 401K with her employer and the husband has a traditional pension through state government with his employer. When they go to get a divorce, the court will divide that pension essentially in half for each spouse and give the other spouse their share of the marital portion. That’s an example property that would be divided.

Another thing that is very important in a divorce situation is whether or not you will receive or have to pay alimony, or as it’s called in West Virginia law, spousal support. Spousal support is not an automatic in West Virginia and it is not something that most judges have a formula for; it’s really based on multiple factors that are laid out in case law and the statute.

When it comes to alimony, the first thing the court would ask is ”which party is more at fault than the other for the breakup of this marriage?” An easy example of that would be a spouse who’s enduring long-term domestic violence and where their children have been somehow attacked, and then the court would look at the ability to pay the need. The other thing to look at is whether or not the person who would obtain the alimony actually has a need for the alimony. The question to be asked would be, “does this person need financial support from the spouse to continue living as close as they could to the way they lived before this divorce or separation?”

In some cases, the completely not-at-fault spouse may have absolutely no financial need because of their own assets and their own ability to earn a living. They probably wouldn’t get alimony or they would probably just get a very little bit from the other party. The other side of that is “does this person who is being asked to pay the alimony and who is at fault, does that person have the ability to pay alimony?” That’s something that is determined by a case-by-case basis.

The amount of alimony that someone might be awarded is going to be different in every single case because every couple has different needs, different lifestyles, and different abilities to pay. There is no formula. A divorce lawyer can help you wade through all the factors that are relative to your situation. You need someone who can help advise you how to go about convincing the court to get that alimony.


What to do After Filing for Divorce

Guidance from a Charleston, West Virginia Divorce Attorney


Now that you filed for divorce in West Virginia, it’s essential to know your next steps. The guidance of a divorce attorney can greatly assist you, especially if you have matters that need to be settled. For example, if you have children, you need to decide how you want to handle custody arrangements. Do you or your spouse need to pay child support or alimony? If your spouse is resisting the divorce, a mediator may need to get involved to help settle matters. 


On an urgent note, if you believe that you or your children are in danger, your divorce attorney can help you file a protective order. Contact the police immediately, then call your divorce attorney to know what to do next. 


What Happens After Divorce Papers Are Filed? 

Once you have started the process of filing for divorce, your spouse is going to receive a petition. Your spouse will have to answer this petition within 30 days. In their answer, they will state their position on the information that you have supplied. All of your demands will be addressed and can either be rejected, accepted, or purposed with a counter offer.  


Legal Phases of Divorce

Next, you and your partner are going to need to exchange information that is relevant to the divorce. Investigations will typically be carried out at this point to make sure that your spouse and his or her lawyer are not trying to disclose any information. This phase is generally referred to as the discovery period.


Afterward, the negotiation period comes into play. You and your spouse will be able to sit down with your lawyers in attendance and work out a deal that is going to be agreeable to both of you. Once you have found something that is suitable, you will be able to put together a marital settlement agreement that will then be submitted to the court to be approved by a judge. During this phase, the process usually ends unless you cannot settle on an agreement. 


What Happens If My Spouse and I Cannot Settle on an Agreement?

If you and your spouse cannot agree on divorce terms, you are going to end up going to trial. During the trial, you and your spouse will both have to testify and undergo cross-examination. Documents may need to be presented, and witnesses could be called to the stand. At the end of the proceeding, a judge will make a ruling on how the divorce will be settled. 


Call Bradford Law Offices

You’re not alone when you are asking, ‘what comes next?’ An experienced divorce attorney is here to help. If you have any questions or concerns about what happens after filing for divorce in Charleston, West Virginia, or if you are looking for a family law attorney or divorce attorney in general, please do not hesitate to contact Bradford Law Offices, PLLC. Tim has many years of experience to provide you with the proper legal advice and assistance that can help you get through this difficult time. From straightforward divorce cases to more complicated divorce matters, Tim and the Bradford Law Offices, PLLC staff are here for you.

Filing for Divorce in West Virginia: Where to Start

Updated: 02/27/2020

How a Charleston Divorce Attorney Can Assist You


If you are ready to file for divorce, you probably have many questions that you would like answered. How long the divorce is going to take, how much it is going to cost, and what spousal support and child custody arrangements will look like are common worries when it comes to heading into a divorce. However, you should first ask your divorce attorney how to file papers in West Virginia.


West Virginia Divorce Law

West Virginia family law differs from other states, as there are different rules and requirements in place for each state in the U.S. It is also necessary to note that the procedure is going to differ from case to case. Each case is as unique as the person, so it is essential to obtain a divorce attorney who understands your situation. You may need a family law attorney for a complicated child custody case, or maybe you and your soon-to-be-ex want to continue with the divorce without contest. If you are filing for spousal support or you need to ensure that your assets and debts obtained before and during the marriage go to the appropriate party, an experienced lawyer can walk you through the entire process.


With the assistance of your Charleston divorce attorney, you need to ensure that all of your documentation is in order. Your attorney will help you to figure out what paperwork is required and how you can obtain it. 


In West Virginia, you are going to need a visual statistics form, a financial statement, a case information statement, a petition for divorce, and other possible paperwork. If you have kids, you will need to get a form for child support income withholding, as well as a parent education registration form. You can download these documents from the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals website or visit the Circuit Clerk’s office.  


As West Virginia is a no-fault divorce state, your only options for the cause of separation are a one-year separation or for irreconcilable differences. You must show proof that you and your spouse were married in the state of West Virginia, as well as if either you still live in the state. Additionally, you must be a resident of West Virginia for a minimum of one year. 


Divorce Questions 

Before submitting your paperwork, now is an excellent opportunity for you to hire an attorney who can navigate the process of divorce with you and ensure that all documentation is handled correctly. Additionally, your lawyer can navigate you through the entire process by guiding your next steps. Asking questions will allow you to see how your lawyer plans on handling your case and help you better prepare for your court date. If you have any concerns in regards to safety, finances, or other conflicts that may arise, now is the time to tell your lawyer as well. 


Contact Bradford Law Offices 

Tim Bradford is a divorce attorney with years of experience in divorce and family law cases. He will fight for you and your children, and ensure that you get what you deserve. Contact Bradford Law Offices, PLLC today to set up a consultation.

Top 3 Questions to Ask Your West Virginia Divorce Attorney

Updated: 02/27/2020

How to Better Understand Your West Virginia Divorce. 


Divorce is a process that is often the last resort for most couples. Once you or your spouse determines that current living conditions are no longer acceptable, the necessary next steps can feel like a whirlwind. 


The assistance of a West Virginia divorce attorney can aid in the stress and uncertainty of divorce. Experienced lawyers have been through the process, time, and time again and should know how to handle your situation best. However, you do want to ensure that you obtain the representation of a lawyer that you are comfortable with and feel as if they will fight for your rights. 


If you believe that you have found the right divorce lawyer to take on your case, you should ask certain questions to keep the lines of communication open. These questions will also help you to get a better understanding of what you should expect throughout your working relationship. Consider asking your attorney the following:


Have you worked on cases that are similar to my situation? Can you explain your process to me? 

There is nothing wrong with being cautious when you are entering into a divorce. Asking your lawyer if they have experience in cases similar to your situation can help you determine if you are choosing the right lawyer for you. For example, if you have children and are going to need to work out custody arrangements, your lawyer needs the expertise to represent the rights of you and your children. The same goes for spousal support, property division, and other aspects of divorce that come into play. Be confident in discussing the entire process with your divorce lawyer. If something does not sound quite right to you, ask questions to determine if that is how you want your case to be handled. 


What information or documents do I need to gather? Will you guide me on what to do next?

An experienced divorce attorney will tell you what you need to obtain to get a fair divorce. Your lawyer must be able to navigate you through the entire process by guiding your next steps. Asking this question will allow you to see how your lawyer plans on handling your case. If you have any concerns in regards to safety, finances, or other conflicts that may arise, now is the time to tell your lawyer as well. Make sure you ask how they plan to handle such situations and what you can expect from them and the divorce process overall. 


What should I expect in my divorce hearing? 

Most lawyers will prep you on what to expect in your divorce hearing. Your lawyer and your spouse’s lawyer will do most of the taking, but it is a good idea to prepare yourself for questions that may come from the judge, or conflicts that could arise in the courtroom. If you have safety concerns in regards to seeing your spouse or if you have any questions at all heading into the final proceedings, now is the time to ask your lawyer. 


A divorce is never easy, but choosing a lawyer who is on your side and will fight for you can help you through it. Tim Bradford has years of experience in divorce and family law cases. Tim understands that each case is unique and that your situation should not be taken lightly. 


Contact Bradford Law Offices to set up your free consultation with Tim to discuss your case and develop a course of action.