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Residency Requirements for a West Virginia Divorce
West Virginia has its own divorce laws regarding who is eligible to file for a divorce. Each state protects its jurisdiction and makes sure the appropriate laws are applied to the appropriate cases. To prevent your case from being dismissed, make sure you meet the West Virginia residency requirements. The most common mistake people make is believing they must divorce in the state in which they were married. This is simply not true. Most divorce cases throughout the United States are filed in the county in which the filing spouse resides.

West Virginia Filing Requirements: In order to file for a divorce in West Virginia, residency requirements must be met for the court to accept the case. If the court discovers it does not have jurisdictional rights to hear the case it will not be accepted or it will eventually be dismissed. The requirements are as follows:

In an action for divorce at least one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for at least 1 year, except if the marriage took place in West Virginia, the 1 year residency requirement is waived.

The divorce shall be filed as follows: (a) If the respondent in an action for divorce is a resident of this state, the petitioner has an option to bring the action in the county in which the parties last cohabited or in the county where the respondent resides. (b) If the respondent in an action for divorce is not a resident of this state, the petitioner has an option to bring the action in the county in which the parties last cohabited or in the county where the petitioner resides. (West Virginia Code - Sections: 48-5-201)

Copyright Notice: The above synopsis of West Virginia residency requirements for divorce is original material which is owned an copyrighted by Divorce Source, Inc. This material has been adapted from applicable state laws and unauthorized reproduction is prohibited. Violation of this notice will result in immediate legal action.

If you discover that you DO NOT meet at least one of the above residency requirements, you can consider the following 4 options:

1. Do not proceed with a divorce and attempt to save your marriage.
2. Establish residency in West Virginia for the period time set forth above (this does not mean you have to wait to begin the process of getting your documents).
3. Have your spouse do the filing if he or she meets the necessary residency requirements for West Virginia.
4. Choose another state in which you or your spouse may meet the residency requirements (all state residency laws are unique, so be sure to check the state in which you were married as a potential option).

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