Fault-Based Divorce in Northern Virginia

Northern Virginia Divorce Lawyer

Coming to a decision regarding whether to file for a divorce can be extremely difficult, even if you know that you are unhappy with your relationship. However, the initial decision to divorce is only the first of many decisions you will have to make. Once you have determined that it would be in your best interests to end the marriage, you will have to decide whether to file for a no-fault divorce or a fault-based divorce.

A no-fault divorce can be filed on one of two possible grounds. The first is that the couple have lived separate and apart for one year. In Virginia, this is the most common ground for divorce. The second is separation where the couple have lived separate and apart for a period of six months and have a signed agreement resolving all issues arising out of their marriage. A divorce will not be granted on the basis of a six month separation together with a signed settlement agreement if the couple have any minor children.

What Are the Grounds for Fault-Based Divorces?

If you cannot file for a no-fault divorce, you may be able to qualify under fault-based divorce. However, some of these grounds for divorce are difficult to prove, in which case it is beneficial to have a competent legal representative on your side to make sure your best interests are protected.

In Virginia, there are four grounds for a fault-based divorce, as listed below:

  • Adultery: If your spouse was unfaithful within the last five years of your marriage and you stopped living with them after you learn of their adultery, you could be granted a divorce on the basis of adultery. However, it can be difficult to prove adultery in court as corroborating evidence is required.
  • Conviction of a Felony: If either spouse was arrested and convicted of a crime classified as a felony and sentenced to more than a year in prison, the other spouse may be able to file for a fault-based divorce.
  • Cruelty: If one of the spouses was the victim of domestic violence, this may be a ground to file for divorce. However, the divorce is not granted until the couple has lived apart for one year. Generally, the abuse must be physical. However, under certain circumstances, emotional, sexual, or verbal abuse may contribute to the evidence to support a divorce on the basis of cruelty.
  • Desertion: The last ground for a divorce is desertion followed by a year of living apart. Desertion means that one of spouse left the other without reasonable cause.

However, even if you do not have grounds or have not separated for the length of time required, you can still enter into a legally binding agreement which resolves all of your divorce issues.


Contact a Northern Virginia Divorce Lawyer for More Information

If you have questions regarding whether you could qualify for a fault-based divorce, you should contact a Fairfax divorce lawyer from our team at ShounBach. We have over 200 years of experience in this area of law and understand how best to help you during this difficult time.

Do not wait to get the help you need. Contact a Northern Virginia divorce attorney from our firm as soon as possible.

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