The Average Cost of Divorce in West Virginia

woman counting the cost of divorce in west virginia

The average total cost for a divorce in West Virginia is $5,000 without children and $15,000 if there are kids involved, according to legal professionals and experts. An uncontested divorce costs at least $200 in total court and filing fees.

Divorce Prices in West Virginia: How Much Will It Cost You?

Getting a divorce in West Virginia will cost you a minimum of $200 in court fees, given your case is uncontested and you don’t hire any professionals, such as lawyers, mediators, etc., to help you go through the divorce process. If children’s custody, property division, or issues of spousal support should be decided, and a couple disagrees, the cost of divorce in West Virginia may go over $20,000.

graph of the average cost of divorce in west virginia
The graph of the average cost of divorce in West Virginia (2019 – 2024)

What Affects the Cost of Divorce?

Several factors can influence the cost of marriage dissolution in West Virginia. Your expenses will depend on the complexity of the case, the number of unresolved issues, the attorney’s fee, etc. Let’s check each one in more detail:

  1. Type of divorce case. An uncontested divorce typically costs considerably less than a contested one. If spouses agree on all marriage termination issues, they may not hire a lawyer, reducing the divorce expenses to $1000 or less. However, if you and your spouse have any disagreements regarding alimony, child custody, visitation, and assets division, you will have to address a family law attorney or a mediator and pay for their services over $200 per hour. The overall divorce price may reach $10,000 or more.
  2. Attorney’s fee. In contested cases, both spouses usually hire a lawyer to protect their interests in court. The attorney’s fee depends on the location, the case complexity, the number of disputed issues, the lawyer’s experience, and other factors. If you need to reduce the costs, you can hire a less experienced professional. However, consider that it may negatively influence the divorce outcomes and will not pay out in the long run. The average hourly fee lawyers charge in West Virginia is $250.
  3. Additional costs. There is a big chance you and your spouse will need to consult with accountants and professional evaluators to solve the property division issues if you have many assets, businesses, and debts to distribute, leading to extra expenses on your divorce. If children are involved, deciding on custody and child support payments will likely require consultations with experts.

The Average Cost of Contested Divorce in West Virginia

The average cost of contested divorce in West Virginia reaches $10,000 – $15,000 or even more. Such divorces are usually 3-5 times more expensive than uncontested ones. The property division, child-related matters, establishing alimony, and other complicated unresolved issues between spouses lead to higher expenses and a prolonged divorce process.

What if I Cannot Afford Attorney’s Fee?

In case you don’t have money to pay for the attorney’s services, you can file for divorce in WV without a lawyer. Do-it-yourself marriage dissolution is not prohibited by law in any situation, but still, it is more appropriate for uncontested cases.

If your divorce is contested, you can reduce the legal costs in several ways:

  • agreeing with your spouse on unresolved marital issues independently and turning the case into an uncontested one;
  • using the mediator’s services, which cost 25-50% less, on average, than hiring a lawyer.
  • contacting a lawyer who charges less for their hour of work or ordering limited-scope legal representation.
tips to save money on a divorce
Tips to make the divorce procedure less expensive

You may also try to act on your own by using the West Virginia Legal Aid website, which helps divorcing couples by providing information on how to file for divorce in WV, what documents are needed, what are the basic divorce steps, etc., free of charge. However, this service is intended mostly for people in difficult financial situations or other vulnerable populations. Besides, it contains generalized information that should not be taken as a direct solution for your specific case.

So, the most cost-effective divorce option is to try to agree with your spouse and start an uncontested divorce.

The Average Cost of Uncontested Divorce in West Virginia

On average, the cost of an uncontested no-fault divorce in West Virginia ranges from $200 to $2,000. Spouses who do not have disagreements regarding alimony, child custody, and property division may file for divorce on their own without involving lawyers and paying only the required court fees.

However, if spouses find it difficult to complete all the necessary documents independently, they may turn to a lawyer’s help with legal paperwork, which may cost them $2000-$3000 on average.

Also, it is possible to order divorce paperwork from online services, which charge much less than a lawyer for the same scope of work.

start west virginia divorce

West Virginia Divorce Filing Fees

When filing for divorce in WV, a petitioner must pay mandatory court fees for submitting the petition and serving a respondent, which may amount to $200 approximately. The total expenses will depend on whether the couple has children and what document delivery method was chosen.

In West Virginia, you will have to pay:

  • around $150 for filing the petition with the court;
  • $20 for serving your spouse by certified mail;
  • $25 for serving the other party by the sheriff’s department;
  • from $75 to $150 for hiring a private process server;
  • from $25 for attending classes for parents.

If you are in a financial struggle and can prove it to the court by providing information about monthly income, expenses, and debts, you can file an affidavit to waive fees.

The Average Cost of a Divorce in West Virginia with Child

The cost of an uncontested divorce for couples who have children and have agreed on all issues regarding their custody, visitation, and support can be, on average, up to $2000, including:

  • mandatory court fees,
  • expenses on preparing divorce papers,
  • costs spent on attending parental education classes, etc.
The list of potential additional divorce expenses that might arise when you have a child

In contested cases, the price of divorce with children can reach up to $15,000-$20,000. If a couple cannot agree, it will be necessary to involve additional experts on child-related issues and pay for their services from $500 to $15,000.