The Role of Fault in WV Alimony (WV Code 48-8-104)

WV Code, Section 48-8-104 Effect of fault or misconduct on award of spousal support

In determining whether spousal support is to be awarded, or in determining the amount of spousal support, if any, to be awarded, the court shall consider and compare the fault or misconduct of either or both of the parties and the effect of the fault or misconduct as a contributing factor to the deterioration of the marital relationship.

(Note: February 10, 2012; J.B.H. I argued a case before the WV Supreme Court this fall, and won it by a 3-2 vote. I was asked by Justice Workman why I did not consider repudiating my client’s pre-nuptial agreement and asking for commensurate alimony for the husband’s fault, an admitted affair. I explained that I found that family courts are not concerned much with fault.

She respectfully disagreed with me, referring me to a case she had authored. I left there feeling that in the right case, she and the Court would support a significant award of alimony. As I said, unless a client is prepared to go to the Supreme Court, I find that family courts apply no greater significance to fault than any other of the statutory factors, and less than the length of the marriage or health of the parties.)

This post was written by Burton Hunter

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