What is a no-fault divorce? If you are considering ending your marriage, you will probably have many questions regarding your situation. In Virginia, there are fault-based grounds for divorce and no-fault grounds for divorce. In a fault-based divorce, there are four different grounds for divorce.
First is due to adultery. However, it can be difficult to prove adultery in court as corroborating evidence of the spouse’s adultery is required. If a spouse is convicted of a crime classified as a felony, sentenced to more than a year in prison and the couple did not live together after the conviction, the other spouse may be able to file for a fault-based divorce. Desertion followed by separation for one year or cruelty plus one year of separation will also constitute a fault-based divorce.
What happens when a couple wish to divorce for reasons other than those fault-based ground for divorce addressed above? In that case, a no-fault divorce may be a good option. 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. This ground for divorce is only available to couples with no minor children. If you wish to file for a no-fault divorce, the first step will be for your attorney to prepare a formal Complaint.
Some of the details included in the complaint are:
After the Complaint has been filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court, a summons may be prepared by the Court and sent to the Sheriff for service on the defendant. Once the Complaint is served, the other party has 21 days to file a responsive pleading. If the other party fails to respond altogether, a hearing, can be scheduled to addressed any issues that must be resolved by the court or, if there are no issues to be resolved, a short hearing, sometimes referred to as an ore tenus hearing, or depositions can be scheduled and conducted, however the other party must be given notice of these proceedings. A divorce is finalized then a judge signs a formal document referred to as a Final Decree of Divorce or a Final Order of Divorce.
Even if you do not have grounds or have not separated for the length of time required, you can still enter a legally binding agreement which resolves all of your divorce issues.
If you have questions concerning fault-based or no-fault divorce, please do not hesitate to talk to a Northern Virginia divorce attorney from our team. We have over 200 years of combined experience and understand exactly how to help you navigate the divorce process and protect your rights. We have been AV® rated by Martindale-Hubbell and are known for our tireless dedication to our clients.