Responsive legal services support your goals throughout the legal process

The end of a marriage brings frustration, confusion, and heartache under even the best of circumstances. These feelings can be compounded if you do not understand Virginia divorce laws and procedures. However, with a knowledgeable and concerned attorney guiding you, you can focus on pragmatic goals and set yourself on a path to a secure future. With more than 20 years of experience in family and domestic relations law, The Daugherty Law Firm, P.C. provides sound advice and supportive representation to help you achieve your goals for your life after divorce.

Grounds for divorce in Virginia

Virginia is one of the few remaining states that have traditional grounds for divorce and a limited option for no-fault divorce. By asserting grounds for the divorce, the petitioner is alleging marital misconduct so severe that it justifies dissolving the marriage. Fault grounds include:

  • Adultery, sodomy, or buggery — The accusing spouse must be able to prove adultery with conclusive evidence. Adultery can affect a court’s decision on child custody (if the adultery has had a negative impact on the children) and an award of spousal support.
  • Conviction of a felony — If a spouse must serve more than one year in prison, the innocent spouse can obtain a divorce.
  • Cruelty and reasonable apprehension of bodily harm — Under Virginia law, cruelty must include acts that cause bodily harm and render living conditions unsafe. Verbal and mental cruelty do not typically qualify unless the mistreatment negatively impacts or endangers the victimized spouse’s mental or physical health.
  • Willful desertion or abandonment — If one spouse ceases to cohabitate with the other and has the intention to desert the spouse, the marital relationship is essentially over. The abandonment must continue uninterrupted for 12 months.

By asserting fault-based grounds, a petitioner is generally setting the tone for an adversarial proceeding. It’s difficult to go forward with anything but a contested divorce in which each of the issues must be litigated to reach a decision. In rare cases, however, an accused spouse may decide not to dispute the allegations, so a couple may be able to negotiate a marital settlement.

Seeking an uncontested divorce in Virginia

An uncontested divorce means the parties have been able to resolve all their disputes — alimonychild custodychild support, and division of property — and avoid having to have a judge decide anything. The first step toward an uncontested divorce is to reach a comprehensive agreement with your spouse to resolve all your issues. If you and your spouse are able to come to an agreement and you do not have any minor children, your divorce can be filed after six months of separation and after one year of separation if you have minor children.

Achieving a settlement of all your divorce issues and avoiding court is the ultimate goal, and as such you should seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney. Another option is divorce mediation in which a third party assists divorcing spouses to reach agreement on issues pertaining to their marriage.  Kimberly M. Luckey, Esq. of The Daugherty Law Firm offers divorce mediation services.

These processes have many advantages, but are not always possible. Spouses must retain some measure of trust and be able to communicate productively for these methods to work. An experienced attorney at our firm can advise you on what best suits your legal situation.

To learn more about how the attorneys at The Daugherty Law Firm can assist you, click on the links below:

While a divorce can be confusing and emotionally draining for all involved, our family law attorneys can assist by providing clarity, reassurance, and dedicated legal services at a reasonable cost.

Contact our law firm for divorce representation

The Daugherty Law Firm, P.C. provides determined representation for divorce in Manassas, Warrenton, and the surrounding communities of Virginia. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 703-659-2437 or contact our Manassas office online. We are conveniently located at 9315 Center Street, just across the street from the Courthouse in Manassas.

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