Madison, WV Divorce Lawyers
The decision to divorce is never an easy one. It often comes after months or years of tears, counseling, arguments, and discussions, and long nights spent thinking about your options. We know that you haven’t made this decision lightly, and our goal is to support you as you navigate the divorce process and start preparing for life after divorce. There are lots of important, life-changing decisions to make during this time, and having the right legal team by your side can help you make the best choices for your future.
The team at Hardy Pence is here to assist you through every step of your divorce in Madison, WV. Whether you’ve already decided to move forward with divorce or you’re still considering your next step, let’s talk about your options and how they may affect you. Call us at 304-345-7250 to set up a consultation with our team now.
The Divorce Process in West Virginia
The divorce process is fairly straightforward, although it does involve a significant amount of paperwork and documentation. First, you should verify that you meet the residency requirements. If you got married in West Virginia, you or your spouse must live in the state when the paperwork is filed. If your marriage took place in another state, one party must have lived in West Virginia for one year immediately prior to the filing of the divorce paperwork.
You’ll also need to decide whether you want to file for fault or no-fault divorce. No-fault divorce is the more common option, as it’s generally faster and less stressful for everyone involved. If you choose no-fault divorce, you’re saying that either your marriage is irretrievably broken or that you and your spouse have voluntarily lived separately without sexual contact for at least one year.
Fault-based divorces may give you an advantage when it comes to dividing your assets, but you have to prove that your partner engaged in the behavior listed on the paperwork. Acceptable grounds for divorce include cruel or inhumane treatment, infidelity, child abuse, alcoholism or drug addiction, abandonment, felony conviction, or incurable insanity.
Filing for divorce requires the completion of several different forms, depending on whether or not you and your spouse have minor children. Once it’s completed, you can file it and two copies with the court clerk. Your spouse must be served with the paperwork.
If you and your spouse agree on the important issues in your divorce, the judge will likely sign off on your proposed divorce agreement. If not, they will make the final decisions regarding the division of assets, child custody, and other issues.
Dividing Your Property and Debts
The division of assets and debts is an important part of most divorce cases. If you and your spouse have minimal debt and assets, you may agree to just leave the marriage with everything you brought into it. However, if you have a marital home, retirement accounts, vehicles, and other shared assets, you will need to decide how to split those up.
Like most other states, West Virginia is an equitable distribution state. A number of factors determine how a judge splits up marital property, including contributions made by both parties to the marriage, if one party was at fault for the marriage ending, each person’s income, and economic misconduct by either spouse.
Determining Child Custody and Support
If you and your ex-partner share minor children, issues regarding child support and custody may be among the most difficult to discuss. In West Virginia, child custody cases begin with the presumption that parents should share 50/50 custody. However, it’s not uncommon for parents to agree upon a different division that better suits their schedules, parental duty split during the marriage, and work obligations. If one party wants to claim that they should have more than 50% of the parenting time, they will need to prove their case.
In West Virginia, child support is based on the incomes of both parents. The child support calculator is used to calculate the appropriate amount of child support for the parents’ shared income. From there, the amount owed is split proportionate to each parent’s income. A number of factors can change this amount, including healthcare expenses, work-related childcare expenses, extraordinary expenses, the division of custody time, and student loan payments.
Other Issues to Consider
With the help of your divorce lawyer in Madison, you can discuss other less-common issues that may be relevant to your divorce. These issues include the intended relocation of either parent, the role of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, and the care needs of children with special needs.
How Hardy Pence Can Help You During This Challenging Time
Divorce may very well be one of the most challenging things you go through in your entire life. Now, more than ever, your choice of legal representation really matters. Who you choose as your lawyer may affect how much time you get with your children, how much financial stability you have after your divorce, whether or not you keep your marital home, and what type of debt you have as a newly single person.
At Hardy Pence, we understand that every single divorce is different—and we want to approach your split in a way that best suits you. Whether you want a collaborative or cooperative approach that preserves the co-parenting relationship or a more conventional adversarial approach, we’re here to meet your needs. During your consultation, we’ll learn more about your marriage and its breakdown, what you hope to get from the divorce, and what your long-term goals are. We will use this information to come up with a plan that considers your and your children’s best interests.
Contact Us Today to Explore Your Legal Options
You may be feeling overwhelmed and stuck. We can help. Wherever you are in the divorce process, we’re ready to learn more about your needs and advocate for you every step of the way. Set up a consultation with our Madison, WV divorce attorneys by calling us at 304-345-7250 or sending us a message online.