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Desertion as a Ground for Divorce in West Virginia

In West Virginia, there a multiple grounds for obtaining a divorce. Willful desertion or abandonment for six months is a ground for divorce from marriage in West Virginia. Desertion in divorce law is the voluntary separation of one of the married parties from the other. Desertion can also be the voluntary refusal to renew a suspended cohabitation of the parties.

If a party who has stopped living with a spouse can establish that such conduct was justified, then that party is not guilty of deserting the marriage. The legal consequence of leaving the marital home is determined by whether the leaving party is justified in doing so.

In order to prove desertion, it must be shown that a party to the marriage broke off cohabitation and that there was an intent to desert in the mind of the individual who broke off the cohabitation. In order to prove desertion, both of these elements must be made. A mere separation, agreed to by both parties is not considered a desertion by either party. This means that if the separation of a husband and wife is agreed to, or if one of the parties goes along with the separation, a suit for divorce on the grounds of desertion cannot be maintained.

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