Virginia is a mixed state regarding the grounds for divorce.  You can file for divorce in Virginia using No-Fault or Fault grounds.

The No-Fault grounds for divorce are:

  • On the application of either party if and when the husband and wife have lived separate and apart without any cohabitation and without interruption for one year.
  • In any case where the parties have entered into a separation agreement and there are no minor children either born of the parties, born of either party and adopted by the other or adopted by both parties, a divorce may be decreed on application if and when the husband and wife have lived separately and apart without cohabitation and without interruption for six months.

Fault grounds for Virginia divorce include:

  • For adultery or for sodomy or buggery committed outside the marriage.
  • Where either of the parties subsequent to the marriage has been convicted of a felony, sentenced to confinement for more than one year and confined for such felony subsequent to such conviction, and cohabitation has not been resumed after knowledge of such confinement (in which case no pardon granted to the party so sentenced shall restore such party to his or her conjugal rights).
  • Where either party has been guilty of cruelty, caused reasonable apprehension of bodily hurt, or willfully deserted or abandoned the other, such divorce may be decreed to the innocent party after a period of one year from the date of such act.
  • Committed willful and malicious desertion and absence from the habitation of the injured and innocent spouse, without a reasonable cause, for the period of one or more years.

Custody of children in Virginia divorces is determined by the best interest of the child standard.  The court assumes that it is in the best interest of the child to maintain contact with both parents.  Custody is usually given to the primary caregiver in cases involving young children; however, it is no longer true that the wife always gets custody of the children when they are older.

Virginia like every state in the union requires that both parents provide financial support for the child.  The court attempts to maintain the standard of living the child enjoyed during the marriage.  This is based on the notion that the child is the innocent party during a divorce and should not suffer because the parents can no longer maintain their relationship.  The amount is determined by a formula that calculates the earning potential of each spouse.

Virginia is an equitable division state in determining the division of the marital estate.  At the time an action is filed the parties to be divorced are enjoined from disposing of any property without court consent until property division is decided.  All property obtained during the marriage regardless of how it is titled is considered part of the marital estate.  The judge divides the property in a way that is considered fair but not necessarily equal.


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