Separation in Virginia

You may have heard that some Virginia divorces require you and your spouse to live separately and apart for a period of time, but what does it mean to be “separated” in Virginia for purposes of divorce?

We encourage you to look for the best legal assistance you can get from a divorce attorney to help in your case and fight for your best interests. Our dedicated attorneys at Curran Moher Weis have over a decade of experience handling the most difficult divorce and family law-related cases in Northern Virginia and nearby cities.

Grounds for Divorce Based on Separation

Virginia has two grounds for divorce based on parties living separate and apart for a period of time. First, if you have no minor children and have a signed settlement agreement, the law requires that you and your spouse be separated for at least 6 months before you can file for and obtain a divorce. If you have minor children or do not have a signed settlement agreement, you must be separated from your spouse for 1 year or more before you can proceed with a divorce. While Virginia has grounds for divorce based on fault, meeting the requisite separation period allows a litigant to proceed with a no-fault divorce.


What Does it Mean to be Separated?

Under Virginia law, a married couple is separated, generally, when one spouse has the intent to separate and the parties physically live separate and apart. In most cases, the intent to separate must be communicated to the other spouse, but there are situations where it can be shown through action or inaction.


When it comes to living separately and apart, the clearest separation is when spouses live in two separate homes. This includes a spouse moving out to a new home, or moving in with a friend or family member.


However, for many divorcing couples, the prospect of having to support two households without a financial plan in place is untenable and the idea that parents may have to abruptly move away from their children while adjusting to separation is unthinkable. In these situations and others, Virginia divorce law permits an in-home separation. This means that the couple may live under the same roof but will still be considered to be separated for purposes of divorce.


Oftentimes, this requires a divorcing couple to sleep in separate bedrooms, separate household finances, do their own laundry, or a myriad of other behaviors that will support “separate” living circumstances. In addition, both or one spouse may need to have a friend or family member visit the home who can attest to the couple’s separate living situation within the home.

Learn How a Fairfax Divorce Attorney Near You Can Help

If you are wondering whether your circumstances will qualify as living separate and apart, or you want to commence a separation from your spouse, you will want to discuss your particular situation with a divorce attorney. A Curran Moher Weis attorney can advise you on separation from your spouse. Contact us to learn about our services.

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