Virginia Divorce Laws

Divorce in Virginia

If you are looking to dissolve your marriage in the state of Virginia, it’s important to understand the unique divorce laws that apply. To obtain a divorce in the commonwealth, either you or your spouse must have resided in Virginia for at least six months prior to initiating the process. Additionally, if there are no children resulting from the marriage, you must have been separated for a minimum of six months and have a written settlement agreement on property division before filing for divorce. It is also wise to seek legal advice from an experienced family law attorney to ensure that all bases are covered.Virginia divorce

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 jurisdiction over the case, the petition will be dismissed.

If the individuals reside in different counties but are 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.


What is a wife entitled to in a divorce in Virginia?

In Virginia, spouses are entitled to an equitable division of marital property and debts. This includes any property or debt that was acquired during the marriage. Spouses may also be entitled to spousal support (alimony), depending on their individual circumstances.

How long do you need to be separated in Virginia to get a divorce?

In order to obtain a divorce in Virginia, spouses must live separate and apart for at least one year without cohabitation. This period of separation begins when one spouse moves out of the family home with no intention of reconciling.

Is Virginia a 50 50 divorce state?

No, Virginia is not a “50/50” divorce state where all marital property is divided equally between the spouses. Instead, courts in Virginia will divide marital property and debts equitably based on the individual facts of each case.

How long do you have to be separated for no-fault divorce in Virginia?

For a no-fault divorce (where neither spouse is held legally responsible for the breakdown of the marriage) in Virginia, spouses must live separate and apart continuously for at least one year without reconciliation.

Does it matter who files for divorce first in VA?

Generally, the spouse filing for divorce first does not gain any advantage over the other spouse. However, it’s important to know the laws in your state as some states may provide certain benefits if you file first. Therefore, it is recommended to consult a lawyer before filing for divorce in your state.

Do you have to be separated for a year to get a divorce in Virginia?

Yes, you must be living separately and apart without cohabitation for a minimum of one year before being able to obtain a divorce in Virginia.

What happens if one spouse doesn’t want a divorce in Virginia?

Even if one spouse does not want a divorce, they must still remain physically separate from their partner for the required period of time before they can legally obtain a divorce. This rule applies even if both parties agree they wish to end their marriage but cannot come up with an agreement on other matters such as child custody or division of assets.

How much does it cost to be legally separated in Virginia?

The cost of legal separation in Virginia varies depending on the amount and complexity of legal work required by each couple. Generally, couples should expect to pay lawyer fees ranging from $2,000-$5,000 or more for a full legal separation agreement and filing process with the court system.

What makes you legally separated in Virginia?

A legally recognized separation occurs when a married couple lives apart for an extended period of time with the intent of ending their marriage without obtaining a formal divorce decree. This usually requires a formal written agreement signed by both parties specifying how their assets and liabilities will be distributed upon separation as well as custody arrangements for any children involved.

 Does a husband have to support his wife during separation in Virginia?

Yes, some form of financial support is typically awarded by the court during temporary separation periods in Virginia. The court will consider factors such as the length of the marriage, the income of both spouses, the earning abilities of both spouses, and other factors before making a decision regarding financial obligations between spouses.

Can you be legally separated in the same house in Virginia?

While technically possible under certain circumstances, it is generally not recommended due to the difficulty of establishing definitive proof of physical separation needed to qualify for an official legal separation agreement in Virginia Courts.

Is it illegal to date while separated in Virginia?

Legally speaking it is not illegal to date while separated; however, inmates should be aware that dating could have an adverse impact on any potential spousal support or alimony awards that may be received if the marriage officially ends in a later divorce settlement or proceeding.

Is it better to be the one who filed for divorce?

Ultimately, this is up to each person’s individual circumstances and preferences – there is no one right answer that fits every situation. It is best to consult an experienced lawyer who can analyze your personal situation and help you decide which option is best for you given your particular facts and goals.

How do I start a divorce in VA?

To begin the divorce process in VA, you must file a Complaint for Divorce with the appropriate Circuit Court Clerk’s office and provide detailed information about your marriage and reasons why you are seeking a divorce. You must then formally serve your spouse with the Complaint and wait 28 days before asking the court for a final ruling on the matter.

Do you have to have a lawyer to file for divorce in Virginia?

While it is not mandatory to have an attorney represent you in filing for divorce, it is strongly recommended as divorce cases can sometimes involve complex legal issues such as division of assets and liabilities that require specialized knowledge and skill which only an experienced lawyer can provide.

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