Separating According to Virginia Law
In Virginia, separation is the legal process by which a married couple can live apart while enduring official marriage.
Virginia law distinguishes two types of separation:
- Separation by mutual agreement
- Separation by desertion or abandonment
Separation by mutual agreement: This can be possible when both spouses agree to live apart and intend for their separation to be permanent. To establish the separation by mutual agreement, the couple should have a written agreement stating the provisions for how they will divide their property and debts, and if applicable, for the custody and support of their children.
Separation by desertion or abandonment occurs when one spouse leaves the other without the other spouse’s consent and without any justification or excuse and intends not to return. If a spouse is deserted or abandoned, they can file for a divorce based on the other spouse’s fault.
What are the requirements for obtaining a legal separation in Virginia in paragraph format?
In Virginia, a legal separation is known as a “divorce from bed and board.”
To obtain a legal separation in Virginia, certain requirements must be met.
- First, the parties should be living separately and apart. This means they are no longer living together as husband and wife and are not engaging in marital relationships. Virginia law does not agree on the least period for separation, but the separation should be continuous & uninterrupted.
- Second, one party must file a complaint for a divorce from bed and board with the appropriate court. The complaint should state the grounds for the separation and state details regarding the parties’ living arrangements.
- Third, the court must find that the parties meet the necessities for a legal separation. The court will contemplate factors including the separation length, the parties’ intentions, and any evidence of reconciliation attempts.
Once the court grants the divorce from bed and board, the parties are legally separated. However, they are not free to remarry and must continue to comply with their legal obligations to each other, such as paying spousal support or maintaining health insurance coverage.
Note: Legal separation in Virginia is not the same as a divorce. The parties endure legally married and may seek a divorce later if they choose to do so. Moreover, a legal separation may not be appropriate for all couples, and it is important to consult with a qualified family law attorney to fix the possible course of action for your individual situation and they can eventually help you in preparing a Separation agreement in Virginia.
What are my rights and responsibilities during separation in Virginia?
- The right to live separately from your spouse.
- The right to make decisions regarding their own property and finances.
- The right to pursue spousal support or alimony if you depend financially on your spouse.
- The right to seek child custody and visitation if you have children.
- The right to seek a protective order if you are a domestic violence or abuse victim.
- The right to seek legal representation to protect your interests during separation proceedings.
- The responsibility to comply with any court orders associated with spousal support, child custody, and visitation.
- The responsibility to endure to pay joint debts and bills or to start a plan for dividing and paying them.
- The responsibility to maintain health insurance coverage for yourself and your children.
- The responsibility to maintain the marital property and not dispose of it without the other spouse’s consent or court approval.
- The responsibility to avoid dissipation or waste of marital assets.
- The responsibility to maintain a civil relationship with your spouse for the sake of any children involved.
Eventually, note that the rights and responsibilities might vary according to the specific circumstances of your separation. Therefore, it is advisable to seek the guidance of a qualified family law attorney to ensure that you fully recognize your rights and responsibilities during separation in Virginia.
Do I need to hire a lawyer for my separation and divorce proceedings in Virginia?
While it is not legally required to hire a lawyer for your separation and divorce proceedings in Virginia. But, Here are some reasons why you need to have Lawyer’s support:
- Familiarity with the law: A qualified family law attorney has a clear & in-depth understanding of Virginia divorce and family law. They can offer guidance on the legal aspects of your case, help you navigate the court system, and confirm that your rights are protected.
- Objective advice: Separation and divorce can be expressively charged and stressful. A lawyer can deliver objective advice and advocate for your best interests, even when you feel overwhelmed or unsure.
- Paperwork and legal filings: Separation and divorce proceedings often involve significant paperwork and legal filings. A lawyer can confirm that all documents are completed properly and filed promptly.
- Mediation and negotiations: In various cases, separation and divorce can be resolved through mediation or negotiation rather than going to trial. A lawyer can represent you during these discussions and support you in reaching a fair and equitable agreement.
- Trial advocacy: If your case goes to trial, a lawyer can deliver skilled advocacy and present evidence & arguments on your behalf.