Bridgeman v. Bridgeman
In Bridgeman v. Bridgeman, 182 W. Va. 677, 391 S.E.2d 367 (1990), executors of the estate of the late Dr. Robert Bridgeman appealed from a judgment which granted a divorce between Dr. Bridgeman and his wife and awarded lump-sum alimony to the wife.
In syllabus point one of Bridgeman, this Court stated that "divorce actions, and appeals therefrom, abate at the death of a party, except as to property rights."
The Bridgeman Court expressly stated that "an appeal does lie, however, as to attendant property rights, if those rights survive a party's death and are enforceable in favor of, or against, a party's estate." Id. at 679, 391 S.E.2d at 369.
The Court indicated that the provisions of the West Virginia Code relating to alimony are designed to allow courts to grant relief appropriate to the facts of each marriage.
The Court also noted:
"As a general rule, a significant alimony award is more appropriate after a long marriage than after a short one. In long marriages, it often happens that one party foregoes education and employment, in effect permanently, in order to support the other's career and the couple's children. In short marriages that produce no children, conversely, each party's sacrifices tend to be short-lived and easily remedied."