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Do you need to cite a legal reason to divorce your spouse in West Virginia?

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2024 | Divorce

People often find the idea of filing for divorce a bit intimidating. Most adults have heard at least a few stories of divorce gone wrong, including scenarios in which someone cannot get a divorce despite desperately wanting to end a marriage. The idea that a spouse could prevent someone from securing a divorce is a frustrating and potentially frightening one. Some people would rather not file for divorce at all than face the prospect of filing without being able to actually end the marriage.

While it is true that there are scenarios in which one party could defend against a divorce filing, that is typically only the case in a fault-based divorce. Adults in West Virginia always have the option of seeking a no-fault divorce instead.

What is a no-fault divorce?

A fault-based divorce filing used to be the only option. One spouse could ask for a divorce based on major issues. They needed to have evidence that their spouse abused them, cheated on them or was still married to their former spouse for the courts to grant them a divorce. However, West Virginia has a no-fault divorce statute that governs the vast majority of modern divorce cases. Instead of needing to prove details about the marriage, someone filing a no-fault divorce in West Virginia only needs to assert that there are irreconcilable differences.

Their spouse generally cannot contest that claim, and therefore evidence about the state of the marriage plays little or no role in someone’s eligibility for a divorce. One spouse can also file for a divorce after a year of separation. Someone does not need proof of infidelity, misconduct or other marital challenges to move forward with a West Virginia divorce under modern no-fault laws. Judges can, however, consider marital misconduct when making decisions about spousal support and attorney fees.

Due to the complexities involved, learning the basics about West Virginia’s divorce statutes and other key family laws by seeking professional guidance may benefit those who have recently determined that divorce is likely the best option in their current circumstances.