Virginia Divorce Law
Despite your feelings about what you think you deserve out of your divorce, it’s important to focus on getting what you need. Divorce is a complex legal matter that only becomes more complicated and compromised by high emotions.
LawInfo’s Virginia Divorce Law articles can help relieve some of the stress of the process. You’ll learn about the state’s divorce prerequisites, how property is divided and many other divorce topics. Whether you need assistance in Chesapeake, Richmond or Virginia Beach, LawInfo can help connect you with a Virginia divorce attorney.
Virginia Spousal Support
Typically, Virginia courts will consider ordering spousal support (alimony) in divorce cases in which one spouse would be left at a financial disadvantage from the separation. There are no statutory methods to calculate the amount of support a spouse must pay, nor are there rules for how long support must be paid. The support amount and payment schedule is determined case by case.
The court makes its determination for support based on any evidence of marital misconduct—such as if the divorce is based on fault grounds—and a list of statutory support factors, including:
- Each party’s needs, obligations and available financial resources, such as awarded marital property, income, pensions, etc.
- Each party’s age and physical and mental health.
- Each party’s monetary and nonmonetary contributions to the family’s well-being.
- The tax consequences of the divorce for each party.
Fault vs. No-Fault Divorces in Virginia
To get a divorce in Virginia, you and your spouse must meet at least one of several legal grounds for divorce. Those grounds include:
- One party was convicted of a felony and sentenced to imprisonment for more than one year.
- One party cruelly and willfully caused the other harm or abandoned them for one year or longer.
- Both parties have lived separate and apart uninterrupted for one year or longer.
The last ground—living apart and separate for one year or longer—is often referred to as the “no-fault” divorce ground. It acknowledges that neither party is solely responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. The no-fault ground isn’t considered by courts as evidence of marital misconduct in spousal support, child support, custody and property distribution.
The other “fault” grounds may be used by courts as evidence of marital misconduct, which can influence a support, custody or distribution judgment.
Uncontested Divorces in Virginia
Since divorce is often a collaborative process, the process can be faster if both spouses work together with few hang-ups on the divorce’s details. You and your spouse could spend less time in court by filing for an uncontested divorce. In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree upon the details of the divorce—such as child and spousal support, property distribution, etc.—and file their divorce for a final judgment from the court.
To qualify for an uncontested divorce, you must file for a no-fault divorce and fulfill the no-fault separation requirements. If child support, visitation or custody are required, their terms must be agreed upon by both spouses prior to filing for an uncontested divorce.