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Grounds for Divorce in Virginia

UPDATED: March 3, 2020

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Like most states, Virginia has developed specific grounds, or reasons, for divorce. If a couple wishes to divorce, they will need to understand these rules. The state of Virginia has a mix of fault and no fault divorce grounds. Depending on the circumstances, couples can seek a divorce for any number of different reasons.

Because Virginia has both fault and no fault grounds for divorce, there is a wide range of reasons you can give to get a divorce in VA. Fault grounds are used when one or both has committed some offense that indicates it is appropriate for the marriage to be terminated. No fault divorces are used when either party decides that the marriage is over, even if there was no one official event or reason that led to the split. Once the party decides that he or she wishes to be divorced from his spouse, he must file papers accordingly. 

No Fault Divorce

In Virginia, there are specific requirements for a no fault divorce including:

  • The couple must live apart for one year if they have children.
  • The couple must live apart for six months if they do not have children.

Fault Divorce

There are also specific reasons for a fault divorce. Fault grounds for divorce in Virginia include:

  • One party committing the offense of adultery or sodomy.
  • One party being sentenced to prison for more than one year.
  • Either party being accused or guilty of cruelty.
  • Either party willfully deserting or abandoning the other, such as by leaving to live in a foreign country or disappearing without a trace.

Whatever reason you supply for wanting a fault divorce, you must also furnish proof of that reason.

Getting Help

If you are considering divorce in Virginia, you should strongly consider speaking with a lawyer who can assist you in deciding whether a fault or no fault divorce is right for you. 

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