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Unlike many other states, Virginia does not have legal separations granted by courts. However, a married couple may enter into a separation agreement, stipulating that they will live “separate and apart.” These agreements usually resolve any other marital issues between the parties (property, custody, support, etc.). With such an agreement in place, once the parties have separated and lived apart for six months (with no minor children) or twelve months (with minor children), either party may then file for divorce on the ground of separation. For more information, see our Guide to Separation in Virginia.

Virginia law allows for divorce on both fault-based and no-fault grounds. The most common fault-based grounds for divorce are adultery, cruelty and desertion (including “constructive desertion”). The no-fault ground is separation (either 12 months or 6 months with a separation agreement in place and no minor children). For more information, see our Guide to Divorce in Virginia.

Going through a divorce can be difficult—but divorcing a narcissist can increase the conflict and tension tenfold. While there is nothing one can do to fully eliminate the effect of a narcissist on the divorce process, there are certain actions that can help minimize the emotional toll on the non-narcissistic spouse. For more information, see our Seven Tips for Divorcing a Narcissist.

Adultery is a ground for divorce in Virginia. Unlike some other divorce grounds, there is no waiting period before filing on the ground of adultery. Adultery can be very difficult to prove, but if proven may have serious financial implications in the divorce, at least on the issue of spousal support. For more information, including how to prove adultery, defenses to an adultery charge, and impact of adultery in a Virginia divorce, see Adultery and Divorce in Virginia.

It is not uncommon to qualify for a divorce on both fault-based and no-fault grounds. In deciding which ground to file on, it is important to understand the pros and cons of filing for divorce based on a fault-based ground in Virginia. For more information, see Should You File for Divorce Based on Fault in Virginia?

Divorce is an emotional and stressful time in a person’s life. If you do not enter the divorce with the necessary financial information, the process may quickly become overwhelming. By taking certain actions at the start of your case, you can protect yourself from future surprises, and potentially avoid a great deal of stress later on. For more information, see Four Financial Steps to Take Before Divorce.