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Fault vs. No-Fault Divorce in Virginia

By October 10, 2023October 30th, 2023Divorce

In Virginia, if you are interested in getting a divorce, you can file for an at-fault or no-fault divorce. Depending on the details surrounding your situation, there are pros and cons to each.

If you live in Roanoke or anywhere throughout Virginia, our team of experienced divorce attorneys at Slovensky Law can help you determine what type of divorce is best for you. Here are the details associated with an at-fault and no-fault divorce, and what you need to qualify.

Qualifying for divorce in Virginia

There are specific qualifications needed to qualify for any type of divorce in Virginia. 

However, regardless of whether you decide to file an at-fault or no-fault divorce, you or your spouse must be a Virginia state resident for at least six-months time, or you will not be allowed to file.

No-Fault Divorce

To qualify for a no-fault divorce in Virginia, you need to be living separately and apart from your spouse. Virginia will not grant you your divorce if you fail to do so.

  • A couple without children must live separately for a minimum of six months and have a signed agreement.
  • A couple with minor children living at home must live separately for a minimum of twelve months, or they cannot begin the divorce process.

Fault-Based Divorce in Virginia

At-fault divorce is only filed if a spouse has a valid fault claim under Virginia law. Whether you live in Roanoke or elsewhere in Virginia, the grounds for divorce are the same statewide:

  • That their partner had committed adultery, 
  • That their partner was cruel (and created fear of harm), 
  • That their partner deserted or abandoned them or their family, or 
  • That their partner had a felony conviction resulting in a year or more of prison time.

If your divorce process needs to start immediately, you will have to have a basis to allege one of these fault grounds. Often, someone may start a divorce alleging one of these grounds, but not ultimately succeed at proving these grounds at trial.

The benefit of pursuing a fault-based divorce is that the divorce court can intervene earlier in the process- setting spousal support, assigning payment of marital bills, and child custody arrangements earlier in the process, as well an ensuring that assets do not disappear during the no-fault waiting period.

Virginia’s division of property under fault-based and no-fault divorce

In Virginia, marital property is split equitably, not equally. This means property and assets are not split 50/50.

Instead, property and assets are analyzed and then divided in a way that is deemed fair for each party involved. This is based on the length of the marriage, the reason behind the divorce, each party’s financial situation, and more. Each spouse should receive what is rightfully theirs – rather than an even split down the middle.

Assets that are split during a divorce are limited to marital  assets. These assets ordinarily ae acquired during the marriage. Property or assets acquired before the marriage and not shared throughout the marriage do not ordinarily qualify.

Why is the distinction between at-fault and no-fault divorce important in Virginia?

Whether a divorce is an at-fault or no-fault divorce can significantly impact how these assets and property are split. 

If you are found at-fault for divorce due to abuse, adultery, abandonment, desertion, or prison, the distribution of assets can weigh somewhat in the harmed party’s favor.

Before deciding whether or not a fault or at-fault divorce is best, contact Slovensky Law to discuss the details of your divorce in detail. We work fervently to help our clients through every step of the process of their divorce.

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