Spousal Support and Fault in West Virginia - What happens if a spouse commits adultery?

What Happens if a Spouse Commits Infidelity?


As a divorce lawyer in West Virginia, we handle many divorce cases, each unique depending on the situation. Through our experience, we’ve identified a few common causes of divorce, but none are as familiar as adultery. The act of adultery can split a relationship in two and leave no trust between a couple. It can also present complications during divorce proceedings. 

Can someone who commits adultery still receive alimony or spousal support?

This question is the number one question we receive when working on spousal support claims. Many people assume that the adulterer automatically won’t qualify for support or alimony. 

In West Virginia, the law doesn’t explicitly state that someone who commits adultery isn’t allowed to receive alimony or spousal support. They legally can still get it, but it all depends on the family court ruling. By law, divorces must go through a family court where judges can weigh the fault of each party before coming to a decision. 

Incidentally, they will also decide how much spousal support needs to be paid and for how long. In some cases, you will have scenarios where an individual doesn’t qualify for any support following a divorce. However, this is only if they deem that person to be at fault for the divorce. 

Is adultery a factor when considering fault? 

Yes, adultery is certainly a factor when considering who is at fault during divorce proceedings. After all, in most cases, the act of adultery is what triggered the break up in the first place. Unfortunately, life isn’t as black and white as this, and there are cases where infidelity happens, but other issues revolve around the relationship which could put either person at fault. 

Regardless, the court will weigh all the various factors when they make their decision. Each case is different and depends on the two individuals involved in the situation. Some of the other factors taken into account include physical abuse, abandonment, prison confinement, and emotional abuse. All of these issues – and other factors – need to be considered to reach a fair conclusion. 

For example, someone may commit adultery, but only as a response to years of neglect or abuse. In this scenario, is it fair for that person to not receive spousal support? That’s for the judges to decide, but it shows how complicated these situations can be. 

Regarding the amount of spousal support, this is typically determined by looking at statutory factors listed in W.Va. Code 48-6-3011. This code allows judges to reach the fairest possible conclusion and figure out if support should be permanent or temporary – if it’s required at all. 

Contact Bradford Law Offices

Divorce is difficult for everyone involved. It’s important to note that this blog is only for educational purposes, to give some information on spousal support and fault in West Virginia. If you require legal advice, consult an experienced Charleston, West Virginia divorce lawyer at Bradford Law Offices, PLLC. Tim Bradford has the experience to handle these unique situations. Call us today to set up your consultation.