Virginia Divorce Laws
In the state of Virginia, there are two types of divorces, fault divorce and no-fault divorce.
Virginia state courts recognize the following reasons as grounds for divorce:
- Adultery: Evidence must be clear.
- Cruelty and physical Harm: Requires physical or severe emotional harm.
- Desertion or Abandonment: Essentially, a spouse leaving the marital residence without the consent of the other half.
- Incarceration with a sentence of more than 12 months.
No-Fault Divorce in Accordance with the Laws of Virginia
A no-fault divorce may be granted after the couple has lived apart from each other for more than 12 months. That time period can be reduced from 12 months to six months if both parties have entered into a separation agreement and there are no minor children from the marriage. At least one party must have intended the separation to be forever.
Custody, Child Support, and Visitation in Virginia
The way of deciding who will get custody is what is in the best interest of the children. There are also certain presumptions which help the court in determining the best interest of the child:
- Parental rights: Parents must be proven to be unfit before the children will be given to someone else.
- Continuity of placement: If children are doing fine where they are, do not cause problems by moving them.
- Children’s choice: A judge will take into consideration who the children want to live with.
In arriving at an appropriate amount of child support, the court will look at the needs of the children; and the financial assets, incomes, and necessities of each parent. VA has made child support guidelines. These are based on the relative and combined earnings of the parties, the number of children, and the amount of time spent with the children.
Visitation in Virginia
If the couple can agree on visitation, the court will usually approve the plan. The courts encourage visitation except in very extraordinary circumstances.
Annulment in Virginia
If marriage is alleged to be void for the following reasons, either party may file a suit for annulment; upon proof of the nullity of the marriage, it will be decreed void by a decree of invalidation.
The following marriages are prohibited by the state of Virginia:
- Bigamy, a marriage entered into prior to the ending of an earlier marriage by one of the parties, where his/her former spouse is still alive;
- Marriage between an ancestor and descendant, between a brother and sister, an uncle and a niece or between an aunt and a nephew, even if they are or are not related by blood;
- Either one or both of the parties, at the time the marriage took place, are at least 16 years of age, but under the legal age of 18 years and did not obtain consent from their guardian unless he/she has been previously married.
Wills in Accordance with the Laws of Virginia
The person should make a new will after a divorce. Even though the person is separated, if he/she were to die, his/her spouse would still inherit unless the person has executed a new will providing otherwise.