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Divorce in Virginia

Fault and No-Fault Divorces

Virginia has several possible grounds for divorce. Most divorces proceed after a period of separation. If you do not have children with your partner then you must be separated 6 months before your divorce can be finalized. If you and your partner had children together then you must be separated for 1 year before your divorce can be finalized. 

A divorce that proceeds after a period of separation where there is no other basis for the divorce is commonly referred to as a no-fault divorce.

The fault-based grounds for divorce include adultery, abandonment, and cruelty.  While there is no waiting period required for a fault divorce, it does require you to present evidence to prove your fault based claim.

For example if you wish to proceed under a claim of adultery you must present evidence to prove that your significant other had sexual intercourse with another person. This can be more difficult than you may think and if you are considering a claim of adultery make sure to speak with an experienced divorce attorney before notifying your significant other that you know of their affair or want a divorce. You will almost certainly need to hire a private investigator who will need to work closely with your attorney to gather the proper evidence. 

If you attempt to proceed forward with a fault divorce and fail to prove your claim you can still obtain a no-fault divorce as long as the required waiting periods haver been met. 

The Absolute Divorce and Divorce From Bed and Board

There are two types of divorce in Virginia, namely, an absolute divorce and a divorce from bed and board. 

A divorce “from bed and board” is similar to a permanent separation. You receive some of the benefits of an actual divorce, such as being able to buy property or other assets without the concern that they become marital property.

The main difference between a divorce from bed and board and an absolute divorce is that you cannot remarry, because you are technically still married.  This is something that would be used by someone who, for religious reasons, cannot get divorced but wishes to live independently.

It is important to speak to an experienced divorce attorney about your options when deciding whether to file for a fault divorce. As noted above, the evidence required to obtain a fault-based divorce frequently surprises most people, especially for adultery.  

Should I Hire A Lawyer For My Divorce?

Emotions frequently run high leading up to a party filing for divorce, and working with an attorney to prepare your case before you even separate can be critical.  A successful outcome in court comes from preparation during difficult times. Once a party has filed for divorce and the opposing spouse is served, the matter is prepared for mediation and litigation.  

Divorce proceedings typically boil down to five basic matters:

  1. Division of Property,

  2. Assignment of Debts,

  3. Determination of Spousal Support / Alimony,

  4. Award of Custody and Visitation, and

  5. Determination of Child Support.

In order to obtain the best result possible, it is important to sit down with your attorney and compile a list of all the evidence your lawyer will need to argue your case. An attorney can help you set realistic expectations about what you will be able to prove and what is not worth pursuing.  

For example, regarding equitable distribution, your lawyer will need as much information as possible on all property and accounts. Accounting sounds straightforward, but families make financial trade-offs that make sense at the time that muddy the waters during a divorce (example, you pay for the mortgage and I'll cover the childcare).  An attorney can help simplify the financial mess and help you get a positive outcome.

You can rely on our knowledge and experience in DC and Virginia family law, no matter how complex your case.  Please call 571-800-2002 or contact us online for an appointment with our Alexandria family law attorneys.

For information on DC Divorces please visit our DC Divorce Page


Virginia Custody and Visitation

Virginia Child Support

Virginia Spousal Support and Alimony

Domestic Violence

Relocation and Custody - Can I Move With My Kids?

Areas We Serve

Virginia, and Washington, DC.