Virginia Divorce Laws

Virginia Divorce Requirements

Before filing for divorce the individuals involved must first meet the residency requirements. In the state of Virginia individuals must file in the county in which they reside. If the court discovers it does not have the jurisdiction over the case, the petition will be dismissed.

If the individuals reside in different counties but still within the state of Virginia, either spouse may file for divorce in either county. Those applying for divorce must also be state residents prior to filing. In some cases one spouse lives outside of state lines. As long as the paperwork is filed through the county of the Virginia resident, the case can be legally accepted.

Grounds for Divorce

In order to legally file for divorce individuals must first state the reasoning for the divorce. The United States does not grant divorces without proper grounds and reasoning. Each state has varying divorce grounds and not all are legal in each state. Individuals may agree upon divorce grounds and petition them to the court or one individual may decide on divorce grounds but will need to prove them before the court.

Virginia breaks its divorce grounds into two different categories: No-Fault grounds and Fault grounds.

No-Fault grounds state that the individuals involved did not live together at the same residence for a minimum of one year. This year cannot be interrupted and must include no cohabitation of any form. At times this one year mark can be minimized to six months if the individuals do not have adopted or birth children as products of the marriage and they have entered into a separation agreement prior to separation.

These children must be under the age of eighteen. Individuals often submit to marriage counseling prior to filing for divorce on the grounds of No-Fault. No-Fault grounds also do not mark one individual responsible for the decree of divorce.

Fault grounds, on the other hand, do mark one individual at fault for the divorce decree. Such grounds often include illegal activity, substance dependency, maltreatment, and abandonment.

Fault grounds in the state of Virginia include buggery, sodomy, or adultery of either individual; infliction of bodily injury towards the other spouse; willfully deserting a spouse; and the conviction of a felony offense resulting in confinement for a minimum of one year.

When one spouse is deserted by the other, the deserted individual may legally file for divorce after one year. Fault grounds are often filed by one individual.

Divorce Documents

Every divorce is different and varies depending on any children present, the length of a marriage, property acquired, employment, and divorcing grounds. Because divorce circumstances vary so do the number of necessary documents.

Divorce documents can be as few as one dozen or as high as twenty for a single case. Some of these documents include an Affidavit of Corroborating Witness form, a Verification form, a Complaint for Divorce and Decree of Divorce form, an Acceptance or Waiver of Service of Process form, an Answer to Bill of Complaint for Divorce form, a Marital Settlement Agreement form, and a Request for Ore Tenus Hearing form.