No legal issue is perhaps as complicated as that relating to the separation of a married couple. The United States of America has one of the highest rates of divorces and separations globally. As a growing industry, divorce and legal separations entail high legal fees in most cases. However, another tricky aspect it the involvement of aspirations, emotions, and feelings of at least two parties involved in a marital conflict or separation proceeding.
The Commonwealth of Virginia recognizes marriage as a critical institution, as do all states within the United States of America. As such, Virginia’s Codes and Laws place measured emphasis on divorce laws and grounds where divorce is attainable.
Brief Overview of Grounds for Separation
Fault v. No-Fault
A fault divorce is a type of divorce centered on some kind of misconduct from the other spouse. This misconduct can include several acts such as convictions and adultery. For a fault divorce to be filed, the misconduct has to be based upon:
- Willful abandonment or,
- Cruelty and reasonable apprehension of bodily risk/harm
No-Fault divorce does not require the presentation of wrongdoing on the part of any spouse. To legally qualify for a no-fault divorce, you and your partner must fulfill the following preconditions:
- Currently living separately and have been for more than one year (if you have children) or,
- Living separately and have been for more than six months (if you have no minor children)
A critical fact to consider is that there are two types of divorces under Virginia law; one is based upon matrimony and the other from bed and board. Matrimony divorce. Choosing between these divorces is subjective to personal beliefs and requirements, this can include religious obligations that prohibit individuals from pursuing a full separation.
The essential difference between the two divorces under Virginia law is based upon the level or extent of disassociation between the spouses. Bed and board entail a partial divorce where parties are legally separated and are forbidden from remarrying lawfully. Bond of matrimony follows a divorce where the extent of separation is total, dissolving the marriage entirely and releasing spouses from their matrimonial duties; this is the more traditional divorce.
How to file for a divorce in Virginia?
Filing for divorce has different mechanisms about whether or not a divorce is contested; this only means to differentiate between divorces that are mutually-initiated and those that aren’t. The legal proceedings for both these separation protocols are significantly different from one another.
Firstly, decide the type of divorce you wish to pursue. Establish if the divorce is mutually accepted or not; uncontested or contested. Also, consider your divorce from the perspectives of matrimony bond, and a bed and board divorce.
Secondly, draw up a petition or court request for a divorce. This means filing for any type of divorce, usually in the county where either of the partners currently lives. The documents for this cost less than ten dollars usually. Based upon the type of divorce being pursued, the legal conditions applicable are subject to variations. In any event, legal counsel is advisable at this point.
Thirdly, solidify your petition or divorce request to include all relevant information. Important matters such as debt distribution, child custody, visitation and support, and division of property are among the notable substantiations to be made here.
Fourth, consider and judge if there is any room for reconciliation. This does not necessarily mean to reconsider parting ways; it could also mean pursuing another kind of divorce based upon minimum mutual damage. Consider mediation, if need be.
Fifth, file your divorce petition and, subsequently, attend your court hearing.
These are generalized steps in attaining a divorce in Virginia. After the successful conclusion of all these steps, you can now receive your divorce decree signed by the judge.