Flag of the State of West Virginia

The Guide to West Virginia Court Records

Overview of West Virginia Courts

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.

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.
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
Civil Circuit Courts Magistrate Courts Family Courts Muncipal 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
 
 
 
Criminal Circuit Courts Magistrate Courts Family Courts Muncipal 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 Relations Circuit Courts Magistrate Courts Family Courts Muncipal 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
 
Juvenile Circuit Courts Magistrate Courts Family Courts Muncipal 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 Health Circuit Courts Magistrate Courts Family Courts Muncipal 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
 
 
Probate Circuit Courts Magistrate Courts Family Courts Muncipal 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

Return to Top