Fault vs. No-Fault Divorce in Virginia

Fault vs. No-Fault Divorce in Virginia

In Virginia, there are two types of divorce: Fault and no-fault. The primary difference between the two is whether or not one party in the marriage is deemed responsible for the breakdown of the marriage.

No-Fault Divorce in Virginia

In a no-fault divorce, neither party is held responsible for the split. If you and your spouse have children, you must live apart from your spouse for a minimum of 12 months before you can begin the no-fault divorce process. If you do not have children, you must live apart for 6 months to qualify.

Fault Divorce in Virginia

You are not required to live separately from your spouse to begin the fault divorce process in Virginia. Instead, you must establish that you have grounds for divorce based on one of the following:

  • Spouse committed adultery
  • Spouse was cruel and created fear of harm
  • Spouse abandoned the family
  • Spouse has a felony conviction resulting in a prison sentence of a year or more

The spouse who files for a fault divorce must provide evidence of the wrongdoing, which can include witness testimony, photographs, or other documentation. While necessary in some circumstances, the fault divorce process is typically more costly and time-consuming.

Does Fault Impact Asset Division in Virginia Divorces?

It’s important to note that the grounds for fault divorce may affect the outcome of the divorce settlement. For example, a spouse who is found to have committed adultery may be denied alimony. Additionally, the division of marital property and child custody arrangements may be impacted by the grounds for divorce based on the judge’s discretion. Ultimately, the decision to file for a fault or no-fault divorce is a personal one that should be discussed with an experienced divorce attorney. Your attorney will help you weigh the pros and cons of each option and help you file for either fault or no-fault divorce depending on your circumstances.