What is a No Fault Divorce?

There are two ways to get a divorce in Virginia

Fault Based Divorce

One way is based on some type of conduct by one spouse that allows the other spouse to seek a divorce. This is commonly referred to as a fault-based divorce since it is due to the fault of one of the parties. Grounds for a fault-based divorce are things like adultery, abuse, or desertion.

No-Fault Divorce

The second way to get a divorce is through what is normally called a no-fault divorce or a divorce based on a legal separation.

When To File

In Virginia, you can file for a divorce if you have been legally separated for one full year. You may also file for a divorce if you have been separated for six months, have no minor children of the marriage, AND have a separation agreement that both spouses have signed. All three requirements must be present to file for a divorce after a six-month separation.

If you have minor children of the marriage, you will have to be separated for one full year before you can file for a divorce regardless of whether you have a signed separation agreement. Likewise, you must be separated for one full year before you can file for a divorce if you do not have a signed separation agreement regardless of whether you have children.

What is Required

To be legally separated the state of Virginia does not require any paperwork. All that is required is that the spouses be living separate and apart and ONE of the spouses intends to end the marriage. It does not require a mutual decision to end the marriage. I always tell people who call me about becoming legally separated that if they move out of the home today and announce to family or friends that the marriage is over, they have become legally separated in the state of Virginia. While it is possible to be legally separated and living in the same house, it is extremely difficult to prove.

There is a difference between an uncontested divorce and a no-fault divorce. You can check out our FAQ about uncontested divorce to see what makes a divorce contested.

If you are currently separated from your spouse and you want to start on your new life as a single person, give us a call today at (757) 276-6555. We will set you up with a free phone consultation with one of our attorneys to discuss how you can get a divorce and move on with your life.

Edrie Pfeiffer
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Edrie Pfeiffer, Bankruptcy & Divorce Attorney