What Are Grounds for Divorce in Virginia?

Unlike some states, Virginia allows both no-fault and fault-based divorces. A no-fault divorce is commonly one based upon living separate and apart for an uninterrupted period of at least one year. A fault-based divorce is one that is based on a claim that your spouse’s actions caused the dissolution of your marriage. The following “grounds for divorce” are often alleged in divorce cases:

Adultery – Engaging in sexual intercourse with another person who is not your spouse. Emotional affairs do not constitute adultery.

Sodomy – Committing oral or anal intercourse with another person that is not your spouse.

Buggery –Engaging in sexual intercourse with an animal.

Willful Desertion or Abandonment – Breaking off cohabitation against the wishes of the other spouse. However, if a spouse leaves the marriage because the other spouse has committed acts of cruelty, the spouse is not guilty of willful desertion or Abandonment.

Conviction of a Felony – If your spouse is convicted of a felony and sentenced to prison for a period in excess of one year, and you do not resume living together after the prison sentence, your spouse’s felony can constitute a ground for divorce.

Cruelty – Acting in a manner that causes bodily harm and renders living together unsafe

If you are considering filing for divorce, it is important to contact immediately an attorney at Curran Moher Weis to determine if the circumstances and factors that contributed to the dissolution of your marriage allow you to file for fault-based divorce in Virginia. If your spouse has filed a fault-based divorce action against you, our attorneys will discuss with you, what, if any, defenses you may have to their alleged grounds for divorce.

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