Ending a marriage can be extremely depressing and devastating. The couple are unable to believe that their world has just been turned upside down. In situations like this, if you obtain the effective advise of an attorney, you will be surprised to realize that the divorce can give you the chance to begin life anew. If you want to start a renewed life, proper ending of your marriage becomes essential. It is here that you will realize why divorce by legal separation is most preferred by divorcing clients.
If you have decided to pursue divorce by Legal Separation, then approach lawyers in Virginia who will tell you How To File for Legal Separation.
VIRGINIA LEGAL SEPARATION LAWS
If you are contemplating divorce, you should know about Legal Separation in Virginia. Be informed that Virginia does not recognize Legal Separation. However, No-Fault divorces recognized in the State come close to the concept of Legal Separation as recognized by other States.
Generally, Legal Separation requires two elements:
- The intention to terminate the marriage is willed by both or either party and
- There is no cohabitation between the spouses
LEGAL DIVORCE FROM BED AND BOARD IN VIRGINIA
Such divorces come close to legal separations as executed by other states. Practically VA residents do not prefer this kind of divorce. It is very rare for the court to order divorce from bed and board. When a spouse’s religion prohibits divorce, divorce from bed and board is granted. At times, VA attorneys proceed with filing for divorce from bed and board during the waiting period for the usual divorce.
Virginia grants divorce based on Legal Separation if the parties can prove that they remained separated. The period of remaining apart differs based on whether the parties have children.
- Where the parties have children, the period of Legal Separation in Virginia is one year
- Where the parties do not have children and there is a separation agreement, the period for Legal Separation in Virginia is six months
In no-fault divorces in Virginia, two legal steps are required to be fulfilled: the parties should intend to remain apart and there should be physical non-cohabitation between the parties.
IS NO-FAULT DIVORCE DIFFERENT FROM FAULT-BASED DIVORCE IN VIRGINIA?
Yes, no-fault divorces are different from fault-based divorces. While no-Fault divorces in Virginia are based on proving Legal Separation, fault-based divorces are granted for several grounds such as cruelty, adultery, willful desertion, constructive desertion, felony conviction, etc. No-fault divorces in Virginia do not require any specific ground and proving Legal Separation for the specified period is sufficient.
LEGAL SEPARATION IN VIRGINIA WHILE LIVING TOGETHER
Divorce lawyers in Virginia are repeatedly enquired whether Legal Separation in Virginia mandatorily requires moving out of the marital home. Your attorney will first alert you that though Legal Separation is not recognized in Virginia, no-fault divorce is accepted. To obtain a no-fault divorce, one should prove that the parties have not cohabited for one year or six months as their case requires.
Clients approach divorce lawyers about proof to show Legal Separation in Virginia. They frankly admit to their attorneys about the legal and financial complications of physically remaining in different houses in Virginia. Such discussions include details about the alarmingly high rents they have to pay during the Legal Separation in Virginia and how this is an unexpected financial burden on the separating spouse’s income. The experienced divorce lawyers will counsel such clients to continue to reside in the same home with their spouse.
Now, this must seem confusing for you. How is Legal Separation in Virginia possible when both the parties reside in the same home? The attorneys you consult will clarify that residing in the same home may be considered as Legal Separation for a no-fault divorce in Virginia if other conditions are satisfied.
What are these other conditions? Be informed that Legal Separation in Virginia requires that the parties retain the firm intent to remain separate and apart. Also, Legal Separation in Virginia requires the parties to remain unyielding to their desires and stop cohabiting with each other. If the parties preserve these two elements, then Legal Separation has been fulfilled for a no-fault divorce in Virginia
THE DO’S AND DON’TS OF ESTABLISHING LEGAL SEPARATION IN VIRGINIA WHILE RESIDING IN THE SAME HOME
The Virginia attorney retained for your divorce case based on Legal Separation will advise you to refrain from sharing the bedroom with the other party. The parties need to cease having an intimate relationship. Further, you will be required to stop sharing meals with your spouse to indicate your intention of Legal Separation in Virginia. Your close friends and family in Virginia have to be informed about your decision of Legal Separation. However, bear in mind that posting about these issues on your Facebook account will not fulfill the objective.
The parties should no longer be involved in joint purchases for the home such as groceries and other household items. You should also stop attending parties or other functions with your spouse to openly declare your intention of non-cohabitation in Virginia. The skilled attorney you hire for your case will strongly advise you to ensure a third person visits your home to corroborate your date of Legal Separation in Virginia.
It is also advisable for the parties to divide their finances and stop withdrawing or depositing funds into the joint bank accounts. Going forward, the parties should maintain separate bank accounts. In cases involving children, it would be advisable to set a schedule where both parties have individual time with the children. Though breaking the news about the divorce to the minor children can be highly challenging, the couple needs to keep the children updated about their decision. Your attorney will insist on you reducing family time together with your spouse and children.
To know more about how to prove Legal Separation in Virginia, consult the divorce lawyers at The Law Offices of SRIS, P.C. Our Virginia divorce lawyers have handled several cases like yours and can easily obtain a no-fault divorce based on Legal Separation in Virginia.
HOW IS INTENT OF LEGAL SEPARATION ESTABLISHED IN VIRGINIA?
A Virginia lawyer explaining about Legal Separation will tell you the importance of proving intent to remain apart. Proof of intent of Legal Separation in Virginia can include communication between the parties including email, text messages, and voice messages. Clients who decide on Legal Separation in Virginia are not careful and hastily mention their intent orally to the other party. In such cases, when disputes arise over the date of Legal Separation in Virginia, the party alleging a particular date will have no proof. The only reference in such cases in Virginia is the conversation with the other party informing the Legal Separation. An adept Virginia divorce attorney will inform you of the need to document the date of Legal Separation in Virginia in a marital agreement.
HOW IS THE DATE OF LEGAL SEPARATION DETERMINED IN VIRGINIA?
Virginia courts generally mention the date specified by the parties as the date of Legal Separation. Parties to a Virginia no-fault divorce are required to mention the exact date of legal separation in their complaint for divorce. If the defendant also mentions the same date mentioned by the Plaintiff as the date of parting ways from his partner in Virginia, then the divorce can be easily obtained. However, if the defendant contends another date in the counter-complaint, then the divorce gets complicated. At this point, assistance from divorce lawyers experienced in handling such issues is crucial.
WHY IS THE DATE OF THE LEGAL SEPARATION CRUCIAL?
You may be wondering, what makes the date of Legal Separation contentious in a no-fault divorce in Virginia. Your attorney will warn you of the consequences of mentioning the wrong date of Legal Separation in Virginia.
The date of Legal Separation is significant for two reasons. One, it is the date of Legal Separation that decides when you obtain your divorce. Two, it is the date of Legal Separation that determines what assets are marital property, fully separate property, and part separate property in Virginia.
For example, imagine a situation where the husband and wife have separated on a specific date and it is the husband who desired to remain apart from the wife. Based on the husband’s intention, the period of Legal Separation in Virginia has commenced. During the transitional period between the divorce and the non-cohabitation, the husband purchases property out of his income. In such a case, if the wife contends that the date of Legal Separation was some date after the husband has purchased the asset in Virginia, the no-fault divorce will get complicated. If the court relied on the wife’s contentions and entered an order providing equitable share on the new asset purchased by the husband, will it not be an unfair distribution of property?
Due to these reasons, the Virginia divorce attorneys you consult will repeatedly emphasize the legal complications associated with failing to preserve proof of date of the non-cohabitation in Virginia.
SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS IN NO-FAULT DIVORCES IN VIRGINIA
Separation agreements remain a distinctive feature of no-fault divorces. When parties decide to terminate their marriage, they are confronted with several issues requiring their immediate attention. They have children whose custody and support becomes a big question. Also, if one of the parties has been the non-earning spouse, his/her survival is also one of the many questions requiring immediate answers.
To end such conflicts, the attorney you consult will inform about how an agreement mentioning these provisions can simplify life. Bear in mind, drafting the marital agreement requires excellent skills that only experienced attorneys possess.
Here is a quick update on what one should remember regarding a settlement agreement:
- The legal agreement puts an end to all disputes concerning child custody and child support
- The legal agreement must contain clauses about spousal support to avoid you stressing over any other parallel proceedings initiated by your spouse requesting spousal support
- The legal agreement should be detailed to include all provisions that are relevant to your case and should leave no room for future litigation
- By drafting a customized version of the legal agreement, you are in control of the entire process and can always negotiate and remove provisions you do not want
- The legal agreement reduces discretionary powers of the court in entering orders about division of property
- Matters unique to your case such as possession of traditional jewelry or funding for the higher education of your children can be discussed, negotiated and resolved in the agreement instead of being contested in courtrooms
- Once the legal agreement is entered into, after the expiry of the specified period of non-cohabitation, the parties are entitled to a no-fault divorce in Virginia.
Further, the agreement ends any conflict on the date of non-cohabitation as both the parties mutually agree on a date and enter the same on the agreement. With this, most of the crucial issues about your divorce are settled by agreement, thus paving the path for a speedy divorce.
IS IT MANDATORY FOR THE AGREEMENT TO BE DRAFTED BY AN ATTORNEY IN VIRGINIA
Some people make the mistake of proceeding with the no-fault divorce by themselves. This decision is made based on the information provided on the internet. Sources on the internet frequently claim that no-fault divorces are simple and easy. Such information provokes VA residents to initiate the divorce by themselves without any help from the professionals.
These individuals, who were initially enthusiastic about the process, will find it perplexing. Only experienced attorneys know the nuances involved in the speedy filing of the complaint. Parties applying by themselves most often find themselves being misled by information on the internet. On visiting the courts, they realize that reality is different from what was found on the internet. With the divorce proceeding half-way through, the individual may resort to retaining a lawyer but by then the damage to the case would have already been done.
Similarly, clients often confidently use the agreements found on the internet for their divorce innocently believing that it is the best suitable agreement for their case. At times these clients even succeed in obtaining a divorce based on such agreements. However, within months, the client will begin facing practical problems of implementing the agreement and will then realize his folly in opting for the do-it-yourself agreement.
When you seek the assistance of attorneys who have efficiently handled marital agreements, you will be given an agreement customized for your case. This agreement will contain all clauses relevant to your case. Your attorney will design clauses after a thorough analysis of your case and in-depth deliberation as to what problems can arise in the implementation of the agreement. In drafting these agreements, the lawyers keep in mind that the relationship between the parties is prone to change drastically after the divorce. Even if the parties are cordial in their conversations, the relationship may worsen and they will no longer be in talking terms. All these future issues are anticipated by your lawyer in drafting the marital agreement.
Your Virginia lawyer will explain to you the permanent effect of the marital agreement. After this agreement is signed and no-fault divorce is obtained, this agreement becomes binding on the party who signed it. Due to the binding nature of the agreement, one should exercise extreme caution in signing the agreement. Your attorney will apprise that having lengthy discussions and negotiations are better than signing an agreement with the wrong provisions. It is always advisable to insist on clearing all doubts associated with the agreement. The marital agreement can be set aside only if the alleging party contends that he/she was compelled to sign by exercising undue influence or that the agreement is unconscionable.
Marital discords often result in divorces that require Legal Separation in Virginia. If you and your spouse are constantly arguing about even trivial issues and are not able to tolerate each other’s presence, then it is time to think of parting ways. You need to approach lawyers in Virginia who have the right expertise in dealing with Legal Separation and helping clients sign agreements to resolve the issues if there are definite signs that your marriage is on the verge of a breakdown.
If your Virginia divorce attorney patiently hears you out and does not mind discussing your cases in repeated meeting sessions, you have chosen the right attorney. Hiring a lawyer who treats you professionally is important. You and your case should remain the priority of the law firm. An experienced attorney will always inform you about the proceedings of your case well in advance. No court hearing will be a surprise to you. Remember, reliability is important in attorney-client relationships so it is always advisable to retain lawyers who will maintain your trust and can keep all information about the dissolution of marriage confidential.
Seek the assistance of the lawyers at The Law Offices of SRIS, P.C. for your case and be provided with all information about how to proceed with divorce in Virginia and start your legal separation.