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The Guide to West Virginia Court Records


The West Virginia trial court system consists of Circuit Courts, Magistrate Courts, Family Courts, Muncipal Courts, and Court of Claims.
 
Circuit Courts have general jurisdiction over all types of cases but generally handle cases beyond the jurisdiction of other courts. Family Courts, Magistrate Courts and Municipal Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of cases. Municipal Courts operate independently from the unified court system. The Court of Claims has exclusive jurisdiction over civil claims against the state.

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Please select a West Virginia county below to view directory of all courts with links to court record resources for each court. Find West Virginia court pages by Town or Zip Code. Select a court record or online resource category below to view all resources at both the statewide and county level. Go to the court records pages for another state.
 


 
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West Virginia Circuit Courts

Circuit Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases, and typically handle cases that are beyond the jurisdiction of other courts.

Criminal cases heard by Circuit Courts include felonies and misdemeanors.

Civil cases heard by Circuit Courts include general civil claims with more than $300 in dispute and civil equity cases.

Circuit Courts also handle probate matters, juvenile delinquency, child abuse and neglect, and reviews of recommended orders from judicial offers handling mental hygiene or juvenile matters.

Circuit Courts may handle some cases involving Family Protective Orders and other cases generally heard by Family Courts under some circumstances. Family Courts share jurisdiction with Circuit Courts over guardianships of minors.

There are specialized court divisions and judicial officers for certain types of cases. Mental Hygiene Commissioners, Mental Health Court Diversion Programs, Juvenile Referees, Juvenile Drug Courts or Teen Courts may exist in individual courts and are generally under the supervision of Circuit Courts.

West Virginia Magistrate Courts

Magistrate Courts have jurisdiction over certain types of civil and criminal cases.

Criminal cases heard by Magistrate Courts include misdemeanors and preliminary hearings for all types of crimes. Magistrate Courts will also handle municipal ordinance violations if a Municipal Court does not exercise jurisdiction over municipal ordinance violations.

Civil cases heard by Magistrate Courts include some general civil claims with less than $5,000 in dispute, exclusive of interest and costs. Magistrate Courts also handle most landlord-tenant disputes and some emergency domestic violence protective orders. Magistrate Courts have original jurisdiction over most general civil claims for less than $300.

Magistrate Courts do not have jurisdiction over certain types of cases, including civil equity, eminent domain, disputes over title to real estate, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, slander and libel.

West Virginia Family Courts

Family Courts have jurisdiction over certain types of cases, including domestic relations, guardianships and domestic violence protection.

Cases typically handled by a Family Court include divorce, annulment, paternity, child custody and child support (Parental Responsibility and Family Support), child visitation, parenting plans, grandparent visitation, separate maintenance, guardianships of minors and civil domestic violence protection proceedings.

If a case involves parental responsibility or family support for a child subject to Circuit Court jurisdiction due to child abuse or child neglect, the Family Court will not have jurisdiction over the matter.

Family Courts share jurisdiction with Circuit Court over guardianships of minors.

West Virginia Muncipal Courts

Municipal Courts have jurisdiction over the enforcement of most municipal ordinance violations.

In areas where Municipal Courts do not exist, violations of municipal ordinances are heard by Magistrate Courts.

West Virginia Court of Claims

The West Virginia Court of Claims has exclusive jurisdiction over civil claims against the State of West Virginia and its agencies.

Cases handled by the Court of Claims include contract disputes, construction contract disputes, property damage, personal injury, damage and injury caused by road hazards, wrongful imprisonment, claims under the Crime Victims Compensation Act, and claims for damages caused by escaped inmates of State institutions. The Court of Claims does not hear Workers' Compensation cases.

There is no limit on the amount of damages recoverable in the Court of Claims. Individuals can bring cases to the Court of Claims without an attorney. Once a claim is submitted to the Court, it is investigated by the appropriate state agency, which then files an Answer.

The Court of Claims conducts hearings in Charleston, Fairmont, Martinsburg, Princeton and Wheeling, but handles the administrative aspects of cases from an office at the State Capitol Building in Charleston.

West Virginia Treatment Courts

West Virginia treatment courts include Adult and Juvenile Drug Courts, Mental Health Court, a pilot pretrial release program, and the Northern Panhandle Reentry Program.

Drug Courts and Mental Health Court can set up treatment programs in lieu of jail for some offenders with alcohol, drug, or mental health problems. These problem-solving courts are expanding. Adult Drug Courts currently operate in 28 counties; Juvenile Drug Courts currently operate in 12 counties. Mental Health Court currently operates as part of the Northern Panhandle Treatment Courts in Brook, Hancock, and Ohio Counties.

The pilot pretrial release program, currently operating in Brooke, Cabell, Greenbrier, and Mercer Counties, uses probation and day report centers in lieu of jail for some offenders.

The Northern Panhandle Reentry Program places some prisoners with addiction or mental health issues in out-patient treatment.

Where to find court cases in West Virginia

The chart below gives general information on the types of cases heard in each type of court in West Virginia.
 

Most Cases = Most or all cases.     Some Cases = Some cases.

Case Type Court Type
CivilCircuit CourtsMagistrate CourtsFamily CourtsMuncipal Courts
General Civil - Unlimited
 Most or all General Civil - Unlimited cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some General Civil - Unlimited cases can be found in the Magistrate Courts
  
General Civil - Limited
 Some General Civil - Limited cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some General Civil - Limited cases can be found in the Magistrate Courts
  
Small Claims 
 Most or all Small Claims cases can be found in the Magistrate Courts
  
Civil Equity
 Most or all Civil Equity cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
   
Complex Commercial
 Most or all Complex Commercial cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
   
Foreclosures and Liens
 Some Foreclosures and Liens cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some Foreclosures and Liens cases can be found in the Magistrate Courts
  
Real Estate Title and Boundary
 Most or all Real Estate Title and Boundary cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 
 Some Real Estate Title and Boundary cases can be found in the Family Courts
 
Landlord / Tenant
 Some Landlord / Tenant cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Most or all Landlord / Tenant cases can be found in the Magistrate Courts
  
Ordinance Violations 
 Some Ordinance Violations cases can be found in the Magistrate Courts
 
 Some Ordinance Violations cases can be found in the Muncipal Courts
Protection, No Contact, and Restraining Orders
 Some Protection, No Contact, and Restraining Orders cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some Protection, No Contact, and Restraining Orders cases can be found in the Magistrate Courts
 Some Protection, No Contact, and Restraining Orders cases can be found in the Family Courts
 
Administrative Agency Appeals
 Most or all Administrative Agency Appeals cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
   
CriminalCircuit CourtsMagistrate CourtsFamily CourtsMuncipal Courts
Felony
 Most or all Felony cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
   
Felony Preliminary Hearings
 Some Felony Preliminary Hearings cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some Felony Preliminary Hearings cases can be found in the Magistrate Courts
  
Misdemeanors
 Some Misdemeanors cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Most or all Misdemeanors cases can be found in the Magistrate Courts
  
Ordinance Violations 
 Some Ordinance Violations cases can be found in the Magistrate Courts
 
 Some Ordinance Violations cases can be found in the Muncipal Courts
Juvenile
 Most or all Juvenile cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
   
Traffic and Infractions 
 Some Traffic and Infractions cases can be found in the Magistrate Courts
 
 Some Traffic and Infractions cases can be found in the Muncipal Courts
Domestic RelationsCircuit CourtsMagistrate CourtsFamily CourtsMuncipal Courts
Divorce
 Some Divorce cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 
 Most or all Divorce cases can be found in the Family Courts
 
Child Custody and Visitation
 Some Child Custody and Visitation cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 
 Most or all Child Custody and Visitation cases can be found in the Family Courts
 
Child Support
 Some Child Support cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 
 Most or all Child Support cases can be found in the Family Courts
 
Paternity
 Some Paternity cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 
 Most or all Paternity cases can be found in the Family Courts
 
Domestic Violence Protection Order
 Some Domestic Violence Protection Order cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some Domestic Violence Protection Order cases can be found in the Magistrate Courts
 Most or all Domestic Violence Protection Order cases can be found in the Family Courts
 
JuvenileCircuit CourtsMagistrate CourtsFamily CourtsMuncipal Courts
Adoptions
 Most or all Adoptions cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
   
Juvenile Delinquency
 Most or all Juvenile Delinquency cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
   
Child Abuse and Neglect
 Most or all Child Abuse and Neglect cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
   
Termination of Parental Rights
 Most or all Termination of Parental Rights cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
   
Children in Need of Supervision
 Most or all Children in Need of Supervision cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
   
Mental HealthCircuit CourtsMagistrate CourtsFamily CourtsMuncipal Courts
Involuntary Commitments
 Most or all Involuntary Commitments cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
   
Other Mental Health Cases
 Some Other Mental Health Cases cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 Some Other Mental Health Cases cases can be found in the Magistrate Courts
  
ProbateCircuit CourtsMagistrate CourtsFamily CourtsMuncipal Courts
Wills & Estates
 Most or all Wills & Estates cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
   
Name Changes
 Some Name Changes cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 
 Some Name Changes cases can be found in the Family Courts
 
Trusts
 Most or all Trusts cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
   
Guardianships and Conservatorships
 Some Guardianships and Conservatorships cases can be found in the Circuit Courts
 
 Some Guardianships and Conservatorships cases can be found in the Family Courts
 

Note: Some courts in West Virginia are not included in the chart above. Please use the following links for descriptions and types of cases heard:
 
  Court of Claims


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