Virginia Divorce Frequently Asked Questions Fairfax

What are the Grounds for Divorce in Virginia?

There are only a few number of states in the U.S that allow “fault” divorces, and Virginia is one of those states that still allow it. What “fault” divorce means is when one individual of a relationship alleges that the other individual is at fault due to misconduct, causing a breakdown in the couple’s marriage. In the state of Virginia, these “fault” grounds include the following things:

  • Adultery
  • A felony conviction or confinement
  • Cruelty
  • Deliberate abandonment

A divorce that is not based on any sort of conduct is simply known as a “no-fault” divorce. One of the most common grounds for this is due to “irreconcilable differences” or in other words the couple can’t get along with each other anymore, and that they both agree to not want to be with each other anymore. That reason alone is enough explanation for a “no-fault” divorce.

However, in the state of Virginia, their laws do not accept or recognize the aforementioned ground as an explanation for a “no-fault” divorce. Instead, couples can get divorced by proving that the two individuals have lived apart from each other for up to one year. If there are no children involved, this certain period of time is shortened to six months.

What Constitutes Cruelty in accordance to the laws of Virginia?

Violence and the fear of it and are what usually constitute cruelty. It is important to show prove by any spouse alleging cruelty, which can be both harm to one’s mental state or their physical well-being. To further reiterate, proof of at least a single vile incident should be sufficient enough to count as concrete evidence by the court.

What is Desertion in accordance to the laws of Virginia?

Desertion means one person of a relationship purposefully leaves or abandons their spouse against their wishes, and permanently. A proof is also required in the case of desertion, this includes:

  • The individual deserting abandons their spouse with the intent and purpose of ending the marriage.
  • There is no justification for that spouse to be deserted.
  • The spouse being deserted did not agree with the other person leaving, thus it being against their wishes.

If both parties mutually agreed on separation, it is not possible to allege desertion to court in the state of Virginia. Do not agree on your spouse leaving if you know they are leaving and disagree with that decision. If you are the person who wants to leave, it is your priority to consult an attorney. In addition, leaving the marital residence may still have some side effects and negative impacts, even if justified. Leaving impacts property division, custody, alimony, determinations and can also mean losing financial records and other valuable documents.

Can my desertion be excused?

Abuse by your spouse, or any actions of misconduct that may cause you health problems or making you live in intolerable living conditions justify you leaving the marriage if you choose to.

What is constructive desertion?

In the state of Virginia, it is possible to charge your spouse with “constructive desertion” if they have not left the marital residence, but due to intolerable actions and misconduct, they have deserted the marriage itself. If the “innocent” spouse escapes home from an abusive or cruel relationship, the abusive spouse can be charged guilty of “constructive desertion”. It is important to note that, unless you’re in danger, it is best to consult an attorney prior to leaving.

How Long Does it Take to get a Divorce in accordance to the laws of Virginia?

In the state of Virginia, it takes an entire year of separation between both individuals to execute a divorce based on abuse or cruelty. If it’s a case of adultery, getting a divorce should be immediate as long as proof and evidence is provided. If it’s based on separation, the couple must be separated for an entire year, or six months if no children involved.

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