Can You Go In Front of the Judge Without Your Spouse Being Notified?

Hello everyone. It’s Chris Pritt back again with a new topic in West Virginia divorce. Today, we’re going to be talking about situations where you can go to the court and get a court order without the other person being notified in West Virginia. There are very few situations where this can actually be done, and I’ll be going over those with you today. 

One situation where you can do that is when you file for a domestic violence petition. The procedure in West Virginia is that when you believe that domestic violence has been committed, you go to the magistrate court. When you go to a magistrate court generally speaking you do not have to notify the other person. Especially if you believe that would potentially result in harm to you. What will happen at that point is that in the event that the magistrate court thinks there’s a pretty good basis for awarding the domestic violence petition the case is heard in the family court within supposedly 10 days. There are also ways for you to get around that particular provision.

Another way is if you establish in the context of a West Virginia divorce what we call immediate and irreparable harm. So what that means is if you think that there’s going to be some sort of harm to you. It’s going to be irreparable, meaning that it can not be undone going into the future and it cannot be remedied. Then you can file for what we call ex parte relief. Now that’s a fancy term, but it basically means going to the court without the other person being notified and making your case to the judge without the other person being notified. West Virginia code outlines a few situations where that’s described as situations where it could be permitted. One of those situations are involving some sort of physical harm. So if you believe that you are going to be physically harmed you can go to the family court and you can get some relief. Of course, you can also get that relief pursuant to the domestic violence petition in the event that you meet the requirements under that statute.

Another situation that is specifically cited in the code, where you can potentially get some relief is when the other person is going to be leaving the state with the children. If that’s the case, then you might have a case to make there. Also, if you believe that the other person, your soon to be former spouse, is attempting to transfer property of some sort.

So those are situations that are going to be covered, but again, the legal standard is immediate and irreparable harm. It is generally very difficult to meet that standard, but it happens quite a bit in family court. You just need to be aware of that and just be aware of what the legal standard is if you’re wanting to make your case in front of the judge without the other person being present. So that’s some basics about it and there’s more to it in many instances, but those are the general rules of thumb. That’s what the legal standard is.

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