For any couple contemplating divorce, understanding the surrounding legal issues can be overwhelming, especially given the emotional strain caused by the event. Having an experienced Virginia divorce attorney to guide couples through this difficult process is essential. The following is an overview of the various issues that spouses will face when navigating the divorce process.
In Virginia, divorces can either be contested or uncontested. If they are contested, adversarial proof is required. Virginia contested divorces involve disputes among the parties regarding any of the following:
Even if both parties wish to divorce, if any of the above disputes arise, the divorce is still deemed “contested.” The parties must be separated for a minimum of one year before a divorce will be granted (with a few exceptions).
Virginia uncontested divorces are different in that they typically involve a mutual, voluntary separation, without disagreement over the various issues pertaining to the parties. The spouses must be separated for a period of at least six months if they have an executed, written Separation Agreement. If there are children involved, or there is no Separation Agreement, the separation period must be for one year.
As part of the Virginia divorce filing, there are numerous statutory elements that must be alleged. If one party is moving for a divorce on grounds, care should be taken before an accusation is made against one spouse because if the grounds for divorce cannot be proven, the other spouse could receive an award for legal fees (and even potential legal action for defamation after the divorce matter is resolved). Grounds for divorce in Virginia include:
- Felony conviction with a minimum of one year imprisonment
- Voluntary separation for the required period of time
Examples of defenses to the grounds for divorce in Virginia include:
- Condemnation (one spouse is aware that the other spouse did wrong but forgives him or her)
- Connivance (the corrupt consenting by one spouse to the marital fault of the other (such as a husband consenting to the adultery of the wife))
- Collusion (fraud on the court by the parties where they fabricate evidence)
- Recrimination (both parties are guilty of marital fault (they, in essence, cancel each other out))
- Insanity (a spouse can prove that he or she was insane at the time that he or she committed the act)
If you are anticipating the end of your marriage, it is vital that you consult an experienced Virginia divorce lawyer who understands the complexity of the local laws. Our domestic relations attorney has over a decade of experience handling these matters. As a family-run local business, we handle cases with compassion and sensitivity. For a consultation, call our office today at 888-691-9319.