Does Virginia have fault-based divorce?

On Behalf of | Apr 2, 2024 | Divorce

If you are planning to file for divorce in Virginia, you may wonder whether or not you should cite fault against your spouse. Below are some things to consider.

What are the grounds for a Virginia fault divorce?

If you are able to prove that your spouse committed buggery or sodomy outside the marriage, or they committed adultery, you may file a fault-based divorce. Other fault grounds include spousal felony convictions where they serve longer than a year and do not cohabit after the jail term; willful desertion for a year or more; cruelty or causing fear of bodily harm.

But there are exceptions

Timing is everything. If one spouse committed the buggery, adultery or sodomy over five years ago or the spouses remained together or connived after learning about the act, fault grounds no longer apply. 

Because you can doesn’t mean you should

Those filing for fault divorces should be aware that any past indiscretions of their own could come to light in a nasty scrap of a fault divorce. Even if that is not the case, when there are children (of any age) in a contested fault divorce, private marital details can be revealed about one or both partners that can fray their relationship with the kids.

Invest your energy into your future

Rather than trying to drag your spouse through the mud of a Virginia fault divorce, a better use of your time and resources is learning more about your rights and responsibilities when filing for divorce. That can help you get a better outcome that leaves you poised for the next stage of your life.




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