Divorce Guide

Divorce Guide


Virginia Divorce Cases


Divorce is never pleasant, but sometimes it is necessary for both the partners to lead a better life if they are not going well with each other. Virginia divorce cases comprises of all the issues that a couple has to go through during their divorce proceedings. The points related to these issues are discussed below.

Residency requirements

Either spouse should be a bona fide resident and domiciliary of Virginia for 6 months, before filing a divorce. However, custody may be filed in Virginia without 6 months residency. However, residing in Virginia for 6 months doesn’t necessarily mean that a person is a domiciliary.

Grounds for divorce

All divorces require proof of grounds. If a person is filing for a divorce he/she needs to have grounds before a petition is filed. If one cannot prove the grounds for divorce, then accusing the spouse would not be a good idea. The grounds for a divorce in Virginia are as follows:

  • Adultery
  • On year imprisonment of either spouse
  • Cruelty
  • Desertion
  • Voluntary separation for at least 6 months with a written agreement and no children within a year

Starting the proceedings

The first step in a divorce proceeding as per Virginia divorce cases involves the preparation and filing of a Bill of Complaint. “Bill of Complaint for divorce” is the legal document that starts the proceedings. This Bill of Complaint states the vital statistics of the couple and their marriage and the ground fir divorce.

There are certain technical matters covered by the bill and it also asks the court for anything that a spouse might want. If both the parties cannot agree on something like support, custody, visitation, property division, lawyer’s fees, court costs etc, then they need disclose it in front of the court. If one spouse has already filed, then the other spouse should possess a copy of the Bill of complaint as soon as possible.

Distribution of property

In Virginia divorce cases, the laws mandate that a court cannot distribute property until there is a clear determination of what the marital estate is when a Virginia divorce is pending. This allows the court to freeze the property so that it will be available for distribution at the end of a divorce.

In Virginia property distribution during a divorce is based on an “equitable distribution” of property theory. It means that property does not necessarily have to be divided equally between the spouses. Some of the factors that the court considers while making an equitable distribution are as follows:

  • The contributions, monetary or non monetary, made by each party for the well being of the family
  • The contributions, monetary or non monetary, made by each partner in the acquisition, care and maintenance of the marital property
  • Duration of the marriage
  • The age, physical and mental condition of both the spouses
  • The factors and circumstances that contributed to the dissolution of the marriage
  • Tax consequences of each party

Similar factors which the court considers necessary or appropriate in order to arrive at a fair decision.

These are some of the main issues that are discussed in Virginia divorce cases.


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