Couples divorcing in Virginia may divorce for fault-based reasons or no-fault reasons. No-fault divorce grounds are for irreconcilable reasons without intent to remain married. The couples simply live apart for one year if there are minor children and a valid property settlement agreement. If there are no children and a valid agreement, then the separation period may be reduced to six months instead of one year.
Fault-based divorce reasons include abandonment and desertion, cruelty or adultery. Couples divorcing should not consider dating until the divorce is final. Virginia courts require sexual intercourse to prove adultery. Emotional outpourings are not sufficient to prove adultery. These factors can be used as circumstantial evidence with other proof, such as an all-night stay at the lover's house. Proving the ex-spouse committed adultery becomes difficult once the spouse is no longer living in the marital house.
Virginia circuit courts require conclusive evidence to show the spouse committed adultery. The court will weigh all of the evidence and make a determination as to whether adultery was committed--and if so, the effect of the adultery on the property division or alimony award. Conviction of a felony: If a spouse has been convicted of a felony and sentenced to prison for more than one year, and is in prison, then a ground for divorce based on conviction of a felony exists.
There are defenses to the grounds of adultery, sodomy, or buggery. If a defense is successfully proven, then no divorce will be granted on these grounds. The defenses to adultery, sodomy, or buggery are as follows:. Depending on the facts of your case, the court may order you to pay spousal support alimony , child support, or other money to your spouse to divide your property.
One of the issues that can affect the cost of a divorce is whether you and your spouse are agreeable to issues concerning the custody of your children, child support, spousal support, and the division of martial property and debts. While you are not required to have an attorney, you will be held to the same standards, rules, and procedures that attorneys have to follow and you will not be given any special treatment or assistance in the courtroom.
Desertion, cruelty, adultery, and felonies with confinement of at least one year are all fault-based grounds for divorce. The only non-fault ground in Virginia is living separate and apart for one year or six months if you have no minor children and have signed a Property Settlement Agreement. The reason for dissolution of the marriage is also a factor that must be considered by the Court in deciding property division. Spousal support can be awarded pendente lite during the divorce action and temporarily or permanently.
For pendente lite support, the Court is required to consider the need and ability to pay of each spouse. In some jurisdictions, the Court may use a formula for pendente lite spousal support. For temporary or permanent spousal support, Courts are required to consider a number of factors before awarding spousal support based on the current situation and facts of the parties, not on speculation of future needs or income, but the need and ability to pay is a consideration.
Based on a U. Furthermore, while adultery is a marital fault ground, if it occurs post-separation, it could not reasonably be said to have been what CAUSED the breakdown of the marrriage. These impacts can be significantly minimized by a properly drafted settlement agreement -- provisions such as i either party can "associate" with whomever they please, ii neither party shall inquire into the nature of any such relationships, and iii both parties waive marital fault grounds in the divorce.
While it may be premature to file the divorce case, it is not too early to meet with an attorney to review your rights and obligations and to start the process of negotiating and drafting a settlement agreement. Then, when the one year expires, you can file an uncontested divorce case with a copy of the PSA and the case will be significantly fast-tracked in my experience with timely acceptance, timely responsive filing, and endorsement of the final decree, this type of case can be completed within approx.
I hope this information was helpful for you. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship and is intended for general information purposes only. The separation period is the old fashioned language necessary to allow the parties to make appropriate decisions on such an important matter. If you are going to get divorced anyhow, then you may do whatever you like during that separation period- but please keep in mind your actions may be used against you if there are child related issues to bring to the attention of the court.
There are so many great attorney's in Richmond, find one that you like and chat with him or her. Take care, and hope that you find the happiness you deserve. The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question.
To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.