Fairfax, VA No Fault and Fault Based Divorce Lawyer
In order to file for divorce in Virginia, you must have Grounds. The various types of Grounds are set forth in the Code of Virginia at § 20-91, and they include (1) living separate and apart for one year (or six months where there are no children and the parties have entered into a written and signed Settlement Agreement), (2) adultery, sodomy, or buggery, (3) conviction of a felony, (4) willful desertion or abandonment after a one year period, and (5) cruelty or reasonable apprehension of bodily harm.
A No-Fault Divorce is appropriate when a marriage has broken down and there is no chance of reconciliation. You will often hear this type of divorce referred to as being based upon “irreconcilable differences.” A no-fault divorce can be obtained after a period of living separate and apart. If the divorcing couple has minor children, they must live separate and apart for a period of twelve months with no cohabitation before either party may file for divorce. If the divorcing couple does not have minor children, then Virginia law creates an option for a faster no-fault divorce. In this circumstance, the parties may file for divorce after a six month period of separation with no cohabitation, but only if they have also reached a written and signed settlement of all outstanding issues, including but not limited to division of property, assets and debt.
A Fault-Based divorce will be appropriate in instances where domestic violence, adultery, cruelty, or a spouse’s felony conviction is present. In these circumstances, either party may file a Complaint for Divorce without any pre-determined length of separation; however, the parties must live separate and apart at all times during the pendency of the divorce proceedings. Also, if domestic violence is a concern, we will file for protective orders and no-contact orders for abused victims.
In addition to the terms no-fault divorce or fault-based divorce, you will often hear about uncontested versus contested divorce.