Divorces are generally a complex process in Virginia and a fault based divorce in Virginia is even more complex.
If you are planning to file a fault-based divorce in Virginia, you should immediately seek the assistance of an experienced divorce lawyer in Virginia
There are two types of divorce in Virginia, a fault based divorce and no-fault divorce
No-fault divorce is entered when there is a difference of opinion between the spouses but there is no suitable ground other than irreconcilable differences in Virginia. In such cases, the couple shows the required separation period and obtains a dissolve bonds of matrimony.
In cases with children, the parties are required to show a separation period of one year and where there are no children, a separation period of six months is to be shown.
Fault dissolve bonds of matrimony generally occurs when one party accuses the other party of an offensive conduct that is recognized by Virginia law. Such fault grounds include adultery, cruelty, desertion, and a felony conviction.
When one party alleges cruelty as the ground for divorce, such individual alleges that the other individual has committed acts of violence and torture against the alleging party. Another important ground for divorce is the act of intentionally deserting or abandonment of the marriage and marital home.
The two most common grounds used when filing a fault based dissolution of marriage in Virginia are adultery & abandonment.
The fundamental difference between a fault based dissolution of marriage and no-fault dissolution of marriage is that there is no waiting period for filing a fault dissolution of marriage. When a party in the marriage decides to obtain a dissolution of marriage based on the grounds provided in Virginia law, they can immediately do so.
This absence of a waiting period is favorable to spouses that deserve spousal support as they are awarded temporary spousal support during the hearing. The complications in a fault-based dissolution of marriage are extreme due to the need to prove the ground of divorce.
If the allegation is adultery, proving the act of adultery will be difficult and can cause a lot of delay in the proceedings. In most cases, messages exchanged in social media and bank statements help prove adultery in Virginia circumstantially.
Police reports, medical reports, and photos are proof of cruelty during the marriage. Constructive desertion or abandonment is another popular ground for dissolution of marriage in Virginia. Constructive desertion/abandonment means the act of the other party compelling the deserting party to desert the marriage. Support payments and property distribution also alter the manner in which dissolution of marriage proceeds.
When the ground of adultery is proven, spousal support may be denied to the wrongdoer. Most often spouses who are accused of wrong conduct take the defense of condonation and connivance. Connivance means the spouse had given consent in some manner to the conduct of the other spouse.
At times recrimination is taken as a defense. In this ground, the defending party accuses the other party too of an offense. In such cases, court can refuse to grant a divorce to both. If condonation is taken as a defense, it means the other party had forgiven the other spouse for the misconduct. In some cases, the defending party takes the defense that there was a justifiable reason to desert the marriage.