Can A West Virginia Family Court Divide Property When People Aren’t Married?

Hello everyone. It’s Chris, Pritt back again with a new topic in West Virginia divorce. Today we’re going to be talking about dividing property when people are not married.

Let’s say you have a couple who has been cohabitating together. They have joint bank accounts, property that they bought together, and so forth. This often happens when people are living together and they even might have kids. It will sometimes come up in the family court. It’s a situation where the family court is faced with the question, can we divide this property? The answer to that question is generally no. If you have two people who are not married and they want to go into family court and have the court divide property, the family court is not going to do that. They’re not going to entertain that. What has to happen if you’re going to do that at this time, unfortunately, is you would have to file a separate action in the circuit court. So the family court would be without jurisdiction.

It’s really unfortunate that the law is set up that way because family courts are used to dealing with issues such as how to divide the property. However, there’s no way to do it. You would have to go and file something in the circuit court. So you could have a situation where you have two people living together and they have children together but the family court is totally and completely without the authority to deal with property issues.

Let’s say that you have a situation where two people were living together prior to marriage then they go get married. The property has been tangled in some way. So for example, you have a property where it was placed in a joint name. In that situation, the property has been acquired while the parties were married and one person’s name was added on to the other person’s account. In that situation, the court would have the authority to deal with it. So it matters when the person’s name is added to the property because, at that point, the family court would have the authority to deal with that particular piece of property if it’s been jointly titled.

So that consists of today’s topic. If you have any questions at all, feel free to give us a call at (304) 720 4412 or email us at CTA (1).png