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Is It Necessary to Provide Evidence of Fault in a Divorce?

Nov 9, 2023 | Divorce

Divorce can often be a contentious process. Not only do you have to figure out matters like child custody and property division, but you also need to determine what’s necessary to begin the process.

Many people wonder if they need to gather evidence of fault before filing for divorce in West Virginia. Ultimately, it depends on whether you’re filing for a no-fault or at-fault divorce. A qualified divorce attorney can explain the differences and help you determine how to proceed.

No-Fault Divorce or Irreconcilable Differences

Marriages break down for all sorts of reasons. There doesn’t need to be anything nefarious going on — sometimes, two individuals simply aren’t compatible with each other any more.

Many states used to require a couple to produce evidence the marriage was failing, even if no one was at fault. However, this has shifted into a less-contentious option: no-fault divorce.

As the name implies, filing for a no-fault, uncontested divorce means no one is to blame for a marriage’s failure; the couple simply has irreconcilable differences. Divorce proceedings can move forward without having to air personal grievances publicly.

At-Fault Divorce

Sometimes, one party may not agree that there were irreconcilable differences, making a no-fault divorce impossible. Other times, you may seek a divorce to escape an abusive or otherwise dangerous situation — in which case, a no-fault divorce may not be advisable. In such cases, you’ll need to file for an at-fault divorce. States vary as far as the rules and laws surrounding divorce, so a local qualified attorney can be of great service. In West Virginia, no-fault and at-fault divorce cases are possible. 

You can file for an at-fault divorce if:

  • Your spouse committed adultery
  • Your spouse abused you or a child
  • Your spouse is addicted to drugs or alcohol
  • Your spouse has permanent, incurable insanity
  • Your spouse abandoned you for more than six months
  • Your spouse is convicted of a crime

With an at-fault divorce, you must provide evidence of your claims. Trying to do so can often be stressful and time consuming, complicating an already-difficult process.

Partnering with a divorce lawyer can help make your divorce less stressful. Your divorce attorney will gather evidence, create a solid case, and represent you in court.

What Other Alternatives Are Possible?

While divorce is a common way married couples separate, it isn’t the only option. For example, say you and your partner no longer live together. You can file for a legal separation once you’ve lived apart for a year. You’ll need to produce proof that you no longer live together, but lease agreements and similar documentation are often satisfactory.

You may also have the option of filing for an annulment. This legal process will render the marriage void.

While these options work under certain circumstances, they aren’t for everyone. You’ll want to speak to your attorney before pursuing legal action; they can help you explore your options and provide reliable legal advice.

Reach Out to Arnold & Bailey for Help With Divorce Proceedings in West Virginia

The divorce process is often stressful enough on its own; if you need to provide evidence of fault, it can become even more difficult. Thankfully, through a no-fault divorce — or other alternatives — you may be able to avoid this headache.

Are you facing divorce? If so, reach out to a divorce attorney from Arnold & Bailey. Our lawyers care deeply about our clients and understand how difficult these situations are. That’s why we offer compassionate support and knowledgeable legal guidance. We can help you gather evidence to support your case and offer unerring legal assistance.

Call Arnold & Bailey at 304-725-2002 or fill out our contact form to request a consultation.