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State of West Virginia

Methods of Judicial Selection: West Virginia

Limited Jurisdiction Courts

Family Court
Jurisdiction: cases involving divorce, annulment, separate maintenance, paternity, grandparent visitation, and issues involving allocation of parental responsibility and family support proceedings; final hearings in domestic violence civil proceedings; performs marriages
Selection of Judges: nonpartisan election
Retention of Judges: reelection
Qualifications: state citizen; circuit resident; minimum age of 30; 5 yrs practice of law in state
Magistrate
Jurisdiction: arrest and search warrants; misdemeanors; preliminary examinations in felony case; civil cases < $5,000; emergency protective orders in domestic violence cases
Selection of Judges: nonpartisan election
Retention of Judges: reelection
Qualifications: county resident; minimum age of 21; high school degree or equivalent; do not need to be lawyers; must complete course in rudimentary principles of law and procedure
Municipal Court
Jurisdiction: ordinance violations
Selection of Judges: varies by municipality
Retention of Judges: varies by municipality
Qualifications: do not need to be lawyers; must complete course in rudimentary principles of law and procedure