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How no-fault divorce works in Virginia

Sometimes through no fault of either party, a marriage simply doesn’t work anymore. Couples in this scenario are often seeking a no-fault divorce. For Virginia residents, achieving this looks a bit difference than in other U.S. states.

While couples in other states can cite “irreconcilable differences” in a divorce filing, couples may be granted a no-fault divorce in Virginia upon showing that for more than one year, once of the parties intended to and the parties have continuously lived separate and apart without any cohabitation.

This period is reduced to six months if the parties have entered into a property settlement or separation agreement and there are no minor children. Some couples in other states may choose a cohabitation plan after divorce, particularly in the case of sharing child custody, but ending cohabitation is a stipulation of gaining a no-fault divorce in Virginia.

Even if a no-fault divorce is filed, a judge is free to award a divorce on fault grounds if they so choose and vice versa if a divorce on fault grounds is filed. A couple reasons a judge may consider awarding a no-fault divorce as a divorce on fault grounds instead include one party seeking spousal support or dividing marital property.

In Virginia, marital property is all jointly- and non-jointly titled property acquired by either or both of the parties from the date of marriage to the date of separation. Any property obtained by either party prior to the marriage is considered separate.

Couples who want to explore the options for a no-fault divorce should consider the necessary requirements to be granted this kind of divorce and that filing for a no-fault divorce does not guarantee it will be granted faultless in a divorce court. Consider talking to a family law attorney who can help navigate no-fault divorce requirements and advocate for a faultless divorce in court if necessary.

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