West Virginia broke away from Virginia during the Civil War when
Virginia joined the Confederacy. During the war West Virginia played a
key role in assisting the Union because it bordered the Confederate
states. Following the Civil War's conclusion the population of the new
Immigrants from Germany, Ireland, England, Scotland, and Italy
currently make up most of West Virginia's current population. Today
West Virginian economy thrives from coal mining and is the second in
coal production in the entire nation. Coal power plants create a
majority of the electricity in West Virginia.
West Virginia is governed by state laws. These kinds of laws exist
where federal laws have no jurisdiction. Many state laws include gun
laws, labor laws, divorce laws, bankruptcy laws, expungement laws,
felony conviction laws, and drunken driving laws.
In 2005 the federal government created the Bankruptcy Act. This act put
new regulations on who is eligible for different kinds of bankruptcy
and is designed to eliminate the abuse the bankruptcy system received
in the past. Those who are eligible for bankruptcy will have their
personal incomes and debts compared to the mean of the rest of West
Virginia. Those that are above the state mean will be granted Chapter
Thirteen bankruptcy, while those who are below the state mean will be
granted Chapter Seven bankruptcy.
Chapter Thirteen bankruptcy allows individuals to eliminate their debts
through personalized repayment plans. These plans can be as few as
three years but cannot exceed five years. Chapter Seven bankruptcy
allows individuals to eliminate their debts through liquidation of
personal property. Different kinds of property are exempt from
In order to have a West Virginia divorce, individuals are required to
be state residents for a minimum of one year prior to filing. Each
county circuit court has jurisdiction over its residents' divorces. If
a petition is filed to the incorrect court, the case will be dismissed.
Individuals may file to their county of residency or to the county of
their spouses, if they reside in different counties. Those who were
married in the state of West Virginia, and who are not currently state
residents, may also apply for West Virginia divorces. In these cases
the one-year requirement is waived.
Expungement is the sealing of an individual's criminal records. Once
expunged a record can no longer be accessed by the general public. An
individual will then be legally allowed to state in written form that
he or she never committed the criminal offense. Most misdemeanor,
felony, and sexual offenses are not eligible for expungement. In the
cases where a governor has granted pardoning, the case is a juvenile
record, or the case is drug-related, a crime can be expunged despite
Handguns are only permitted under concealed weapons permits. In order
to obtain a permit an individual must first demonstrate that he or she
can operate, load, and fire a handgun. A provided exam will inform West
Virginia citizens of all federal, state, and local gun laws that are
lesser-known in regards to carrying conceal weapons.