West Virginia Info

West Virginia Divorce Start Your Divorce Find Professionals West Virginia Articles Divorce Facts Divorce Grounds Residency Divorce Laws Mediation/Counseling Divorce Process Legal Separation Annulments Property Division Alimony Child Custody Child Support Divorce Forms Process Service Grandparent Rights Forum West Virginia Products Divorce by County

West Virginia Articles

Custody & Visitation SEE ALL

Info Categories

Contemplating Divorce Children & Divorce Divorce, Dollars & Debt Divorce Laws Divorce Process Divorce Negotiation SEE ALL

More Information

Articles Checklists Research Center Cases of Interest Dictionary Encyclopedia Encyclopedia (pop-up) Blogs

For Professionals

Advertise With Us Free Network Page Join Our Network Submit Articles Sign In

Network Sites

West Virginia Divorce Support West Virginia Divorce Online

West Virginia Legal Separation
Legal Separation in West Virginia

In West Virginia, filing for a legal separation - called separate maintenance - is not much different from filing for divorce. The major distinction is that in a separation the spouses remain married; in a divorce, they become single. A separation order spells out the terms and condition of the separation. If they divorce later, the separation expedites the action. Unless the parties divorce later, the separate order remains effective indefinitely.

Couples who mutually wish to separate can negotiate separation agreements. A separation agreement is an enforceable contract between spouses that covers the terms and conditions of the separation including the division of assets and liabilities, spousal and child support, and visitation. In the event of a divorce, a West Virginia judge incorporates the terms of the agreement into a divorce decree, provided that it is fair and reasonable to both spouses.

Couples who wish to divorce at a later date (but are not in a hurry) can simply separate for a year. If they have a separation agreement in place, it controls the terms of the breakup. For this to work as a preliminary to divorce, however, the spouses must physically separate; a reconciliation, however brief, starts the clock over again. The couple cannot divorce until a year has passed from the beginning of a new separation after the attempted reconciliation.

When the spouses have already separated, one partner can file a petition for separate maintenance when the other refuses to pay support. This is essentially a court-ordered separation. The court addresses support, custody and property division, and it can make orders governing these items.

A spouse can file for separate maintenance even if he or she does not want to divorce.

Separation Agreement

A separation agreement is a legal binding contract signed by spouses, which is intended to resolve property, debt and child related issues. This can be a very complex and detailed document depending upon the unique situation of the marriage. Many spouses consult an attorney to provide this or they decide to prepare their own.


A complaint for separate maintenance calls for the same information as the divorce complaint. It includes the identification of the parties, their children; the date of marriage; the grounds, and any issues that remain unresolved such as alimony, child support, custody and visitation terms, and the use of certain marital property, like the family home.

The complaint for separate maintenance must be filed in the West Virginia county where the respondent lives or in the county where the spouses last lived together. The action is filed the family division of the circuit court.


The grounds for a legal separation, which is called separate maintenance, are the same as divorce. Like divorce, a complaint for separate maintenance in West Virginia requires grounds. West Virginia permits no-fault, which means irreconcilable differences, or living apart and without cohabitation for one year, along with other fault grounds. A couple who have been living a part for a year can file for legal separation.


One of the spouses must live in West Virginia for a least one year before filing for a separation.

Initial Procedure

The respondent is served with a copy of the complaint. The easiest way to do this is to have the county sheriff deliver it. In a no-fault filing, the respondent must agree in writing that the marriage has suffered irreconcilable differences and cannot be saved and must have the statement notarized. The petitioner then files it with the court.

Start West Virginia Divorce Start Your West Virginia Online Divorce Today
Easy, Fast and Affordable with a 100% Guarantee.
West Virginia Divorce Find West Virginia Divorce Professionals in Your Area:
Join the Network
West Virginia Divorce Products, Services and Solutions West Virginia Divorce Products, Services and Solutions
West Virginia Divorce Resources to Help You Through the Process.
Online Parenting Class West Virginia Mandatory Online Parenting Class
Easy and convenient - complete at your own pace online.
Divorce and Custody Books Discount Divorce Bookstore
Over 100 Titles of the Best Books on Divorce & Custody.
Divorce Downloads Divorce Download Center
Instantly Download, Books, Manuals, & Forms.
Divorce Worksheet Free West Virginia Divorce Worksheet & Separation Agreement
Your Guide to Get Organized and Put Everything in Writing.
Divorce Lawyers & Mediators

Find Professionals

Easily Connect With a Lawyer or Mediator
Have Divorce Professionals from Your Area Contact You!
Enter Your Zip Code:


Start Your Divorce File for a West Virginia Divorce


Settle Your Divorce Negotiate Your West Virginia Divorce


Support Forum West Virginia Support Forum

Guarantee Official PayPal Seal Facebook Twitter Versign Secure Site