How to Get a Virginia Divorce
Virginia allows you to file for a no-fault divorce provided you meet certain requirements, but there is also the option to file based on other criteria as well. These two types are referred to as divorce from bed and board and divorce from the bonds of matrimony.
Divorce from bed and board is essentially a legal separation. You cannot remarry if you choose this option, whereas a divorce from the bond of matrimony is an absolute and complete divorce. You can later ask the court to transition a divorce from bed and board into a divorce of a bond of matrimony provided at least one year has passed since you initially separated. If you have questions on the grounds for divorce in Virginia, it’s important to speak with a Leesburg divorce attorney.
Divorce from Bed and Board
There are two main categories under divorce from bed and board. The first is for willful abandonment or desertion. This requires ending cohabitation and one spouse intending to desert the other. Mutual consent to separate does not qualify here. If grounds for desertion exist, a suit for divorce from bed and board can be filed immediately following the separation. If it continues beyond the year, it will likely be enough to qualify for divorce from the bond of matrimony.
Cruelty and a reasonable apprehension of bodily harm is the other type of divorce from bed and board. This involves acts that that can cause bodily harm and make it unsafe for the spouses to continue living together. Virginia doesn’t recognize mental cruelty by itself as a ground for divorce, but if it endangers the other spouse’s physical and/or mental health, it may be enough.
Divorce from the Bond of Matrimony
The no-fault divorce falls under the divorce from the bond of matrimony category and can be awarded after the parties have continuously lived apart for at least a year with no periods of cohabitation in between. For couples with no minor children, the time period is reduced to only six months instead of a year.
Other categories under divorce from the bond of matrimony include adultery, sodomy, or buggery. To prove adultery, it has to be very fact-specific. It is not easy to prove your spouse actually engaged in sexual relations with someone else. Sodomy refers to sexual acts other than the physical act of intercourse itself. Buggery is considered a sexual act against nature, such as bestiality.
If your spouse is convicted of a felony, you can file for divorce from the bond of matrimony as well. This is applicable when your spouse has been convicted, has been sentenced to jail or prison for over a year, and is actually confined. You can qualify for divorce provided you don’t have a period of cohabitation with the convicted spouse once you are made aware of the confinement.
Retaining a Virginia Divorce Attorney
If you need assistance with how to get divorced in Virginia, you need to speak with a knowledgeable Leesburg divorce attorney. Contact Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC today at 703-997-4982 to schedule a consultation. Let our team of skilled Virginia divorce attorneys assist with all your legal needs.