There are several different grounds for filing for divorce in West Virginia. Simply put, grounds for divorce are your reasons for wanting the divorce. There are non-fault grounds like irreconcilable differences or living separate and apart for at least one year. Then, there are fault-based grounds such as cruel and inhuman treatment, abandonment, adultery, habitual alcohol or drug use, committing a felony during the marriage, etc. There are a total of six fault-based grounds for divorce one may raise in a West Virginia divorce action. However, raising a fault-based ground in your petition for divorce is something you may or may not want to do, because of the burden of proof which comes with asserting some of these reasons.
Irreconcilable differences is one of the most commonly used grounds for divorce in West Virginia. It is a non-fault ground that simply means the parties are no longer able to get along, and there is no hope for salvaging the marriage. Most people file for irreconcilable differences in hopes of a no-contest divorce – A divorce on this ground does not require any proof of the irreconcilable differences. Another common justification for filing for divorce is living apart for at least one year, which means exactly what it says – you and your spouse have been separated and living in different households for a minimum of one year.
The most common fault-based grounds asserted in divorce are cruel and inhuman treatment and adultery. Raising the issue of adultery in a divorce action is something your attorney may not want to do, depending on the circumstances of your case. Adultery is a very tricky ground to assert, because if you and your spouse reconcile after the infidelity occurs, the cheating spouse may use the reconciliation as a defense to the adultery allegation. Therefore, hindering the claim of adultery. To assert the cruel and inhuman treatment claim in a divorce, the alleged treatment must meet the statutory elements of cruel and inhuman treatment as defined by W.Va. Code §48-5-203. Although, your claims of cruel and inhuman treatment must meet the statutory definition, it is not necessary to allege or prove acts of physical violence to satisfactorily establish cruel and inhuman treatment as a ground for divorce.