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Grounds for Divorce in Virginia

Virginia law requires that parties seeking to divorce must assert a ground or reason for the divorce and prove to the court that a divorce should be granted. There are several established grounds for divorce in Virginia, some of which require fault and some of which are no-fault grounds. A Woodbridge or Gainesville, VA divorce attorney from The Daugherty Law Firm can help you understand which of the following grounds are available to you.

No-fault grounds

A no-fault ground is exactly what it sounds like — neither spouse is at fault for the end of the marriage. In Virginia, there are two circumstances in which a spouse can seek a no-fault divorce:

  • Spouses who have children have been living separately for one year
  • Spouses who do not have children have been living separately for six months

An attorney at The Daugherty Law Firm can help determine whether a no-fault divorce is the right choice for you.

Fault grounds

Sometimes one of the spouses may be to blame for the end of the marriage. Virginia law allows spouses to assert these fault grounds as the reason they are seeking divorce:

  • Willful desertion or abandonment: Desertion or abandonment requires that one spouse not only ceases to cohabitate with the other but also has the intent to desert the spouse.
  • Cruelty and reasonable apprehension of bodily harm: Experienced Gainesville and Woodbridge, VA divorce lawyers understand that for cruelty to qualify as grounds for divorce, it generally must include acts that cause bodily harm and render living conditions unsafe. Verbal and mental cruelty does not typically qualify as grounds for divorce — unless it has a substantial effect, or endangers the mental or physical health of the victimized spouse.
  • Adultery, sodomy, or buggery: Adultery must be proven through conclusive evidence, which may include testimony. Sodomy or buggery must be committed outside of the marriage, and has the same standards of proof as determining adultery. There are defenses for the grounds of adultery, sodomy, and buggery. If a defense can be successfully established, a divorce will not be granted on these grounds.
  • Conviction of a felony: If a spouse is convicted of a felony, and is sentenced to and serves more than one year in prison, the innocent spouse can obtain a divorce with the help of a skilled Prince William County divorce lawyer.

Contact us

Speak with our Gainesville or Woodbridge, VA divorce lawyers about your grounds for divorce. Contact the Manassas divorce law firm of The Daugherty Law Firm.

Click here to contact The Daugherty Law Firm online and discuss your legal needs, or call our office at 703.659.2437 to speak with our experienced divorce lawyers.

We offer reasonable fixed fee arrangements and accept major credit cards.