Virginia is one state that recognizes fault divorces, but there is also an alternative for couples who are in agreement and want an uncontested divorce.
No-Fault Divorce in Virginia
In Virginia, a no-fault divorce is where neither party needs to demonstrate proof of any wrongdoing. Instead, it’s based on separation. It means you won’t need to prove that your spouse did something wrong, allowing you to file for divorce.
In contrast, a fault divorce would involve something like abuse, adultery, a felony conviction, or desertion/abandonment. Under Virginia law, to qualify for a no-fault divorce, the spouses must be living apart for at least 12 months — continuously and permanently. If there are no children involved, you may qualify with only six months living apart provided you sign a separation agreement.
Unlike many other states, Virginia doesn’t recognize the “irreconcilable differences” grounds in a no-fault divorce.
Meet the Residency Requirement
In addition to the legal separation requirement, couples wishing to file for a no-fault divorce in Virginia still have to meet the residency requirements. You or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months prior to filing for divorce.
Prepare Separation Agreement
Even in uncontested divorce matters, preparing the separation agreement can be a challenge. This is where the benefit of a skilled Virginia divorce lawyer can come in handy. Even if you agree on everything, having the agreement drafted by a family law attorney will expedite the process with the courts and protect you have future disputes with your ex-spouse.
The separation agreement will set forth the terms of how to divide marital property and other assets. It will discuss spousal support, child custody and support matters, and a variety of other issues. The separation agreement still needs to follow the general principle of equitable distribution. Virginia is not a community property state and assets are not necessarily divided 50/50, they are divided in a manner that is fair to both parties.
Filing for Divorce in Virginia
The process for a no-fault divorce is similar to a contested divorce. He or she who files the Complaint for divorce is the plaintiff while the responding spouse is the defendant. Parties still may be required to participate in a deposition at an attorney’s office or it may be in front of the judge during an oral hearing. Once all the documents are in order, and the legal separation period has been met, the judge will sign off on the Final Order of Divorce.
Retaining a Leesburg Divorce Attorney
While uncontested divorces seem easy, you still need representation who will look out for you and your interests. Contact Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC and let our Leesburg-based divorce attorneys handle your uncontested divorce. Contact our office at 703.997.4982 to schedule a confidential consultation.