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West Virginia Service of Process for Divorce
The Server

Process servers in West Virginia must be authorized by the county court in which he or she serves. Service may be delivered by any person who is at least 18, is not a party to the case and who does not have a vested interest in the outcome.

Serving Process

The divorce papers, the summons and the complaint, are served together.

Personal or substituted service may be effected by delivering a copy of the divorce papers to the individual personally, or by delivering the papers to the defendant’s dwelling place or usual place of abode to a member of his or her family who is older than 16 years and by advising the person of the purpose of the papers, or by delivering the papers to an agent or attorney-in-fact authorized by appointment or statute to receive or accept them on the individual's behalf. The clerk, at the request of the plaintiff and upon payment of the applicable fees and costs of service, may send the papers by certified mail, return receipt requested, and delivery restricted to the addressee.

Service by publication may be ordered after the plaintiff files an affidavit stating that the defendant is a nonresident of West Virginia for whom no agent, or appointed or statutory agent or attorney is found, or that the plaintiff used due diligence to learn the residence or whereabouts of the defendant but without effect, or that process, delivered to the sheriff of the county in which the defendant resides or is currently residing, has twice been delivered and has been returned without being executed. An order of publication shall be published once a week for two successive weeks (or for such period as may be prescribed by statute, whichever period is longer) in a newspaper of general circulation in the county wherein such action is pending. Filing the publisher’s certificate of publication with the court is proof of service by publication.

Service by mailing may be ordered when the plaintiff knows the residence of a defendant upon whom service has been unsuccessfully attempted. The summons notifies the defendant that he or she must appear and defend within 30 days of the date of mailing and that judgment by default will be rendered against the defendant at any time thereafter. If delivery of the summons and complaint sent by the certified mail is refused, the clerk, promptly upon notice of such refusal, shall mail to the defendant, first class mail, postage prepaid, a copy of the summons and complaint and a notice that despite such refusal the case will proceed and that judgment by default will be rendered against the defendant unless he or she appears to defend the suit.

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