Separation and Divorce
Separating or ending a marriage can be a difficult time for you and your family. Perry Law Group has been advising and guiding people through separation and divorce for over 40 years. If you are thinking about separating or getting a divorce, you need to know your rights and obligations under the law. That said, knowledge is only power if you know how to organize it and apply it in a given situation. Whether it involves a same-sex union or a traditional marriage, it is our job to organize the facts to build your case.
With our close proximity to Fort Lee, Virginia, Attorney Virginia Perry is an experienced military divorce attorney. Perry Law Group has represented many servicemen and women, as well as military spouses, for the past 40+ years that we have been serving the Southside Virginia area.
Q: What is a "no-fault" divorce?
Q: Do I need a lawyer?
Q: If my spouse and I agree on divorce, can we do it ourselves?
Q: Is there a residency requirement for divorce in Virginia?
Yes. You or your spouse must have been a bona fide resident and domiciliary of Virginia for at least six months before filing for divorce in Virginia.
Q: What is a "bed and board" divorce?
Q: What if I want to be free to marry again?
Q: If my spouse and I agree to divorce, do we still need grounds?
Yes, even if both husband and wife agree on a divorce, grounds or legally prescribed reasons must exist and be proven to the satisfaction of the court.
Q: What about "irreconcilable differences" as a ground?
Virginia does not recognize “irreconcilable differences” as a ground for divorce. That does not mean that you cannot end your marriage if you find you and your spouse are incompatible. It does mean that you will have to separate and live apart for the statutory period before filing for divorce.
Q: What are the grounds for a divorce from bed and board?
The grounds are willful desertion or abandonment or cruelty and reasonable apprehension of bodily harm. Desertion is a unilateral cessation of cohabitation with an intent to remain apart permanently in the mind of the offender. Separation by mutual consent is not desertion. On the other hand, if a spouse is forced to leave by the cruel acts of the other, he or she is not guilty of desertion and may be awarded a divorce upon the ground of cruelty.
Q: What constitutes cruelty?
Acts that tend to cause bodily harm and render cohabitation (living together) unsafe constitute the ground of cruelty. If the conduct of a spouse is so outrageous as to harm or endanger the mental or physical health of the other spouse, this can amount to cruelty sufficient to establish grounds for divorce. The Virginia Supreme Court has said “…cruelty that authorizes a divorce is anything that tends to bodily harm and thus renders cohabitation unsafe; or, as expressed in the older decisions, that involves danger of life, limb or health…. [there]…may be cases in which the husband, without violence, actual or threatened, may render the marriage state impossible to be endured…angry words, coarse and abusive language, humiliating insults and annoyances in all the forms that malice can suggest, which may as effectually endanger life or health as personal violence and which, therefore, would afford grounds for relief… what merely wounds the feelings without being accompanied by bodily injury or actual menace—mere austerity of temper, petulance of manner, rudeness of language, want of civil attention and accommodation, or even occasional sallies of passion that do not threaten harm, although they be high offenses against morality in the married state, does not amount to legal cruelty.” (Upchurch v. Upchurch, 194 Va. 990 (1953) )
If you believe that you may have grounds for divorce based upon cruelty, or if you believe that you or your children are in danger from your spouse, you need to seek competent legal advice. To schedule an appointment for a confidential consultation, call us today at 804-520-7060.
Q: What are the grounds that will make me single again?
The grounds for an absolute divorce dissolving the bond of matrimony are:
- Desertion or cruelty after a one-year separation
- Sentence of imprisonment for a felony for more than one year
- Separating with the intent to remain apart permanently and living apart for one year
- Where there are no minor children and the parties have a written property settlement, separating and living apart for six months
- After obtaining a bed and board divorce, upon expiration of the applicable statutory period (either one year or six months)
Q: What is adultery, and how do you prove it?
Sexual acts other than intercourse, such as oral or anal sex may also form the grounds for a divorce if committed outside of marriage. The standard of proof is the same as for adultery.
Q: Is there a statute of limitations on adultery?
Q: Are there defenses to a charge of adultery?
Ordinarily, proof of fault grounds requires only a “preponderance of the evidence.” This means sufficient proof to “tip the scale” in your favor. Proof of add charges upon the basis that the proof tendered is insufficient as a matter of law. Adultery is different. It requires a higher standard of proof. In fact, the proof required of adultery is the highest standard in civil law and is known as “clear and convincing” evidence.
Q: Can we get a divorce after six months' separation if we have kids?
No. You must be separated for a year or more if there are any minor children born or adopted in the marriage. That being said, parties can file for divorce without waiting if there are fault ground.
Q: Do I have to have a property settlement?
If you have been separated for more than one year, it is not necessary to have a written property settlement. However, having settled issues like property, support, and custody can make the divorce faster and easier to obtain, provided no one is in violation of the terms of the settlement.
Q: Is a property settlement agreement a good idea?
The possibilities for contract terms are more varied and flexible than the remedies available from the court. You can do by agreement things that the court in dividing marital property and adjudicating your rights may not be able to do.
Q: What other relief can I get in a divorce?
Q: What is a separation agreement?
Q: Why consider a separation agreement?
Q: Do we have to have an agreement? Can we just separate?
However, if you intend to pursue a no-fault divorce after six months’ separation, instead of waiting a full year, you will need a signed written agreement. Without such an agreement, you must wait a full year before filing for divorce.
Q: What if we have a prenup? Do we still need to have a separation agreement?
If you do not want to sign another agreement, you do not have to; it just means you will have to wait a full year before filing for divorce.
Q: What if we can't agree on our own? Is there another alternative?
Q: Does having a separation agreement make it easier to get a divorce?
Q: What if we decide to reconcile?
Q: How do we go about getting an agreement?
- Spousal support
- Bank accounts
- Debt repayment
- Disposition of the marital home
- Disposition of timeshares
- Disposition of burial plots
- Disposition of vacation home
- Disposition of vehicles
- Division of thrift savings
- Division of military retired pay
- Pension/retirement benefits
- Death benefits
- Life insurance
- Child custody/visitation and support
- Health insurance coverage for the child(ren) (and/or dependent spouse)
- Payment of college or trade school expenses for the child(ren).
There could be other issues depending upon your circumstances. Once you have identified potential issues, set a meeting with your spouse. Try to reach an agreement on the issues. As you agree, write down the terms of your agreement. If possible, sign it and have your spouse sign it. Call your attorney for an appointment to review the terms you have agreed upon with your spouse and to discuss whether there are further matters you need to discuss with your spouse. If appropriate, your attorney can take your notes and memorandum of agreement signed by you and your spouse and draft a more formal separation agreement.
Q: Do you have to have an attorney draw up the agreement?
Q: What is a legal separation?
Perry Law Group
3660 Boulevard Suite E,
Colonial Heights, VA 23834
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