Grounds for Divorce
The grounds for divorce in Virginia include:
The spouses can seek a divorce based on marital misconduct. This may be the ideal option for spouses who haven't been separated long enough to qualify for a no-fault divorce. The following grounds are acceptable in the state:
- Adultery, sodomy, or buggery
- Felony conviction
- Abandonment or intentional desertion for over a year
- Cruelty by one spouse that causes bodily harm or fear of bodily harm to the other spouse
In a no-fault divorce, there is no need to state a reason for wanting to end the marriage. However, to file for divorce on no-fault grounds, both couples are required to be living separately for at least a year.
In some cases, where there are no minor children involved and the couple has prepared a separation agreement, the judge may reduce the one-year requirement to six months. Especially in circumstances where living separately is a financial hardship.
Dividing Assets and Debts
Virginia is an equitable distribution state. Pursuant to Va. Code Ann. § 20-107.3 (B), Virginia courts are required to follow the equitable distribution model when dividing marital property. The following factors will be considered by the court during property division:
- The duration of the marriage
- The age, physical, and mental condition of each spouse
- Monetary and non-monetary contribution of each spouse to the family's well-being, acquisition, and maintenance of the marital property
- How and when the marital property was acquired
- The liquid or non-liquid character of all marital property
- The debts and liabilities of each spouse
- Tax consequences of the marital property
The court only divides marital property or that which was acquired or earned during the marriage. Separate property — which is any property that belonged to an individual prior to the marriage, or property that was inherited or gifted — remains with that individual.
The Family Law Attorney's Role
Divorce in Virginia involves a lot of complicated processes. Trying to negotiate a divorce settlement with your estranged spouse, dividing property, determining child custody, and agreeing on visitation periods, can make the divorce process even more difficult and stressful. This is why it is important to hire a knowledgeable Virginia divorce attorney for detailed guidance.
Attorney Gordon Peters is committed to providing outstanding legal services and helping clients in family law and divorce matters. He will inform you of your options and help you navigate key decisions during the divorce proceedings. Also, he will work diligently with all parties involved to negotiate a fair resolution.
As your legal counsel, he will ensure that matters of property division, spousal support, child support, and parenting time are resolved productively. A one-on-one consultation with an experienced divorce attorney may be what you need to protect your rights, your family's best interest, and make the transition as smooth as possible.