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What are grounds for divorce in West Virginia?

| Feb 6, 2020 | Family Law

When you’re approaching a divorce, one of the hardest things to do is to figure out your options.

Under West Virginia law, the following are considered sufficient grounds for divorce:

  • Irreconcilable differences
  • Voluntary separation (living apart for one continuous year or longer)
  • Cruel or inhuman treatment, including false accusations of adultery and conduct that destroys your mental or physical well-being and happiness
  • Adultery (that can be proven by clear and convincing evidence)
  • A felony conviction after marriage when the conviction is final
  • The other party’s permanent and incurable insanity
  • Habitual drunkenness of either party following the marriage
  • Addiction to narcotics or other dangerous drugs following the marriage
  • Willful abandonment or desertion
  • Abuse or neglect of a child

Divorce due to voluntary separation or irreconcilable differences is West Virginia’s version of a no-fault divorce. Your spouse doesn’t have to admit to anything, and you don’t have to prove anything if you simply tell the court that you have irreconcilable differences — which generally makes it one of the most preferred grounds on which to file. If you file based on one of the other grounds above, you’ll be asked to prove your claim in court.

The grounds of your request for divorce are focused solely on the reason you want to end your union. They do not have much bearing on custody issues, support issues or the division of the marital assets. That’s why many couples are content to cite irreconcilable differences and put their energies elsewhere.

For the vast majority of couples, divorce doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out process that ends in a court battle and a trial. You can negotiate reasonable terms on which to end your marriage. Find out how an experienced family law attorney can help.