To obtain a divorce in the state of West Virginia, you must have either been married in-state, or at least one spouse must have lived in the state of WV for no less than twelve months and site grounds for divorce.

Grounds are the reasons for divorce that the courts accept. In the state of West Virginia, you can file for either a no-fault divorce or a fault-based divorce. A divorce attorney in Charleston, WV, can significantly improve your chances of getting the best results.

Fault-Based vs. No-Fault Divorce

In a no-fault divorce, you file for divorce without claiming that your spouse was responsible for the end of the marriage. Alternatively, in a fault-based divorce, you file claiming that it is your spouse’s sole fault for the marriage termination.

Grounds for a No-Fault WV Divorce

The two reasons to file a no-fault divorce are:

  • You allege that there are irreconcilable difference, or
  • Voluntary Separation

Irreconcilable differences mean that there is no hope of saving the marriage. To file on these grounds, you and your spouse must both agree to it. If your spouse does not agree to irreconcilable differences, you will need to pick different grounds for divorce.

Voluntary Separation means that you and your spouse have been living apart for 12 consecutive months or longer. If you choose to file on the grounds that you and your spouse have not been cohabiting for 12 months or longer, you will need to prove this to the WV Family Courts¹. The easiest way to do this is to provide the courts with lease agreements, utility bills, or an ID/driver’s license with a new address.

Grounds for a Fault-Based Divorce in Charleston, WV

The grounds for a fault-based WV divorce are more numerous. It is highly recommended that when filing for a fault-based divorce, you contact an experienced divorce lawyer in Charleston, WV.

Below is a list of fault-based grounds divorced as cited by the West Virginia Legislature. (

Cruel or inhuman treatment.1

(a) A divorce may be ordered in Charleston, WV for cruel or inhuman treatment by either party against the other. Cruel or inhuman treatment includes, but is not limited to, the following:

(1) Reasonable apprehension of bodily harm;

(2) False accusation of adultery or homosexuality; or

(3) Conduct or treatment which destroys or tends to destroy the mental or physical well-being, happiness, and welfare of the other and render continued cohabitation unsafe or unendurable.

(b) It is unnecessary to allege or prove acts of physical violence to establish cruel and inhuman treatment as a ground for divorce.

Domestic Violence IMG

Domestic Violence Resources – Charleston WV


It is up to the party seeking a divorce to provide clear and convincing evidence against the alleged adulterer.

Conviction of crime.3

The crime committed can occur in or out of the state of West Virginia. However, the crime must be a felony, and the conviction must be final.

Permanent and incurable insanity.4

For a divorce to be ordered for permanent and incurable insanity in Charleston, WV, the person must have been confined in a mental hospital or other similar institution for no less than three consecutive years, and the court must be provided competent medical testimony that the insanity of the person is indeed incurable.

Habitual drunkenness or drug addiction.5

Frequent abuse of alcohol, narcotics, or other dangerous drugs is grounds for a fault-based divorce in West Virginia.


A divorce may be ordered when either party willfully abandons or deserts the other for six months.

Abuse or neglect of a child.7

“Abuse” is defined by the WV Legislation as any physical or mental injury inflicted on such child including, but not limited to, sexual molestation; and “neglect” is willful failure to provide, by a party who has legal responsibility for such child, the necessary support, education as required by law, or medical, surgical or other care required for the well-being of such child.

It is up to the party seeking a divorce to provide the court clear and convincing evidence that is enough to justify permanently depriving your spouse of any custodial responsibility (all rights and duties regarding the care of the child in question) for the abused or neglected child(ren).

The Advantage of a Divorce Lawyer in Family Law Cases

The laws in West Virginia are specific and often intricate. We highly recommend obtaining a divorce lawyer who specializes in family law at the START of your divorce. The divorce lawyers at an experienced family law firm can assist you with your case from start to finish.

Whether it be child support, child custody, spousal support, alimony, a divorce lawyer with specific experience in Kanawha County and through West Virginia is crucial to helping you achieve the desired results of your divorce.

Frequently Asked WV Divorce Questions:

Do I need a divorce lawyer?

There is no requirement to obtain divorce lawyers. However, it is highly recommended that you get representation. The search for the best lawyer can be tedious, but a bad lawyer can be worse than having no lawyer at all. You want to be sure your attorney has years of experience in family law cases in Charleston WV, Kanawha County, and throughout the state.

How much will my divorce cost?

The court fees for filing the paperwork for a basic divorce in a WV divorce court is $135.00. However, other fees and costs can accumulate (especially in a contested divorce – *LINK*). In many cases, divorce lawyers won’t cost you unless you win the case.

Contact the Law Office of Tim Bradford

Tim Bradford is a Divorce/Family Law Attorney located in Charleston, WV. With over 20 years of experience, Tim Bradford has become one of the top divorce lawyers in Charleston, WV, Kanawha County, and throughout WV.

Our law firm specializes in divorces in Kanawha County and throughout the state of WV. Our practice areas include divorce, property division, child support, child custody, spousal support, personal injury, estate planning, and more. We are conveniently located at 231 Capitol Street, Charleston WV 25301 near the WV State Capitol, Charleston City Hall, the Clay Center, Capitol Market, and other unique sites in the heart of West Virginia.

Our divorce lawyers are ready to help you get the results you deserve. Divorce doesn’t have to be the end; with a top divorce attorney like Tim Bradford, it can be the start of a new and beautiful chapter in your life. You have the right to be happy, feel safe, and enjoy life. If you’ve considered getting a divorce but don’t know where to start, search no further. Our law firm is ready to help. Give us a call today for a consultation. Your case is important to us.

Call: (304) 501-5820 | Click: | Visit: 231 Capital Street Ste 300, Charleston, WV 25301

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Serving Charleston, West Virginia, Putnam County, West Virginia, Boone County, Lincoln County, Fayette County, Logan County, Raleigh County, West Virginia, and the surrounding areas.

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