What are the Grounds for Divorce in Virginia?
In Virginia, if you were lawfully married, then you may be granted a divorce on the following grounds pursuant to Section 20-91 of the Code of Virginia:
For a Virginia court to grant a divorce on the ground of adultery, it must be proved by clear and convincing evidence. (Watts v. Watts, 40 Va. App. 685 (2003)). This means that at a minimum, the spouse alleging adultery must provide evidence showing a date, place, and time during which the adulterous conduct occurred. However, even if a spouse does not have sufficient evidence to prove adultery by clear and convincing evidence, he or she can include the adultery as a factor that lead to the dissolution of the marriage for the court to consider.
2. Felony Conviction
A spouse may seek a divorce on the grounds that the other spouse was convicted of a felony during the marriage if the other spouse was sentenced to and served one year in jail/prison, and the couple did not live together after the other spouse was freed from confinement.
3. Cruelty, Bodily Harm, Desertion, or Abandonment
If a spouse is guilty of cruelty, reasonable apprehension of bodily harm, desertion of the other spouse, or abandonment of the other spouse, then the innocent spouse may seek a divorce after a period of one year from the date of the act. However, a defense to the grounds of desertion and abandonment is that the alleging spouse’s actions justified the action.
4. No Fault
If you do not wish to file for a divorce on one of the above grounds, or if none of the above grounds are present in your case, then you should consider filing a no-fault divorce based on the following:
The husband and wife have continuously lived separate and apart for…
One year if the divorce is contested and/or there are minor children born of the marriage
Six months if the divorce is BOTH uncontested and there are no minor children born of the marriage