Divorce in Virginia – VA Divorce Laws, Attorneys & Family Lawyers


The estimated rate for divorce in Virginia State is 3.9% per 1,000 of the total existing population which is not moderate, but is close to the median point. At less than $100 (usually around $85, but varies from county to county), the fee cost for filing a divorce in Virginia is one of the lowest in the United States. This excludes any professional services you may require.

You or your spouse must live in VA for six months prior to filing for divorce in Virginia. There are both no-fault and fault divorce grounds. To get a no-fault divorce you will either need to have lived separately for six or twelve months depending on factors such as children and formal agreements. All these grounds must be supported in front of the judge and a proof must be provided.

Divorce is preferred over annulment in Virginia. Annulment is rare and is only granted in certain circumstances. Mostly people, who do not want to divorce because of religious reasons, opt for annulment. Divorce is never easy; however a divorce attorney or lawyer can help you with the intricacies of a divorce.

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Grounds for Divorce in Virginia

Divorce grounds in Virginia are categorized into:

Grounds for No-Fault Divorce in VA

No-fault divorce grounds in Virginia are:

Separation With No Cohabitation for One Year (Couples with Children)

In case you have children and you and your spouse are living separately, both you and your spouse can obtain divorce under this divorce ground in Virginia. Your claim will be valid only if you and your spouse have been living separately for a period of one year or more without any cohabitation.

Separation With No Cohabitation for Six Months (Couples without Children)

If you and your spouse have no children you and your spouse require only a period of six months separation to claim divorce under this divorce law in Virginia.

Grounds for Fault Divorce in VA

Fault divorce grounds in Virginia are:

Adultery or Sodomy

In order to be divorced on this ground the petitioner must prove that the other spouse had committed sexual intercourse with a third party. If you prove this you will be awarded a divorce decree under this divorce ground in Virginia.


You can claim a divorce on this divorce ground in Virginia if your spouse has been awarded a prison sentence for one year and you do not want to live with him or her.

Guilty of Cruelty

If either a husband or wife is responsible for cruelty and when this cruelty becomes intolerable, in this situation divorce becomes legal under this divorce ground in Virginia.

Wilful Desertion or Abandonment

Wilful desertion or abandonment is a divorce ground in Virginia. If your spouse has wilfully deserted you, you can claim a divorce under this divorce ground. Contact a professional divorce attorney or divorce lawyer for detailed information regarding divorce grounds in Virginia.

Divorce Laws in Virginia

Virginia has following divorce laws:


Regarding filing a case for divorce in Virginia, you may file in Circuit Court in the county where your spouse lives or has lived for a minimum of 6 months.

Documents Required for Filing Divorce

  • Complaint for Divorce
  • Decree of Divorce

The above mentioned are the important primary documents required to start and finalize a divorce according to Virginia divorce laws. There are anywhere from ten to twenty other documents that may be required throughout the filing process.

Distribution of Property

Virginia like all other states is an “equitable distribution” state; the marital property according to Virginia divorce courts’ law is divided in an equitable fashion i.e. in fair manner.

Change of Name or Restoration or Name

According to the Virginia divorce laws, husband or wife, after the judgment of divorce, are allowed to restore their names as they were before this marriage for e.g. father’s surname, ex husbands or wife’s surname or any other name can be restored.

Mediation Counseling

If the defendant denies charges of irreconcilable differences, the Virginia divorce court gives the couple or both parties a time period for rethinking and a final decision.


Alimony in Virginia differs from case to case. Not all divorce cases involve support from one spouse to the other. The obligation of one spouse to support the other financially for a temporary or permanent basis is dependent upon the case the divorce court is deciding.

Child Custody

As per Virginia divorce laws, the court does everything possible to help reduce the emotional trauma the children may experience during the dissolution process. If the parents are found not able to come to an agreement, the divorce court establishes the custody order at its discretion. Custody, whether joint or alone, will be awarded to the father or the mother or both based on the best interests of the children.

Child Support

Virginia divorce laws’ child support guidelines are based on the Income Shares Model for calculating child support. Contact a professional divorce attorney or divorce lawyer for comprehensive divorce laws information of your state.

Your case will be heard in your local Virginia Circuit Court.

Virginia Annulment Laws

Annulment is a legal way to dissolve a void marriage. According to Virginia annulment laws, annulment is a decree for the marriages that are not valid. Basically, annulment and divorce both are used in the same sense that is to terminate a marriage. Following are the grounds, under Virginia annulment laws, on which Virginia annulment becomes legal:

Same-Sex Marriage

Same-sex marriages are common in Virginia. Same-sex marriage is a marriage of same sex partners i.e. male-male or female-female. Marriages of same sex partners are not recognized by Virginia marriage laws. Such a marriage can be annulled under Virginia annulment laws.


Bigamy is a valid ground under Virginia annulment laws. You should be single at the time of marriage. If you already have a spouse, you can not marry another person.


Consanguinity is kinship i.e. having sexual or marital relationship with a natural parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, stepparent, stepchild, adoptive parent, adoptive child, brother, half brother sister. Such unions can be annulled according to Virginia annulment laws.

Underage Marriage

If you are any younger than the legal marriageable age set by Virginia marriage laws, you can not get married without your parent’s consent or court’s permission. Otherwise your marriage won’t be recognized and it can be annulled under Virginia annulment laws.


If your spouse is impotent, you can obtain annulment in Virginia as it is a legal annulment ground in the state.

Fraud and Duress

If your spouse employed fraud or force to obtain your consent for marriage, you can file for annulment according to Virginia annulment laws.

Prostitute by Profession

If your spouse is prostitute by profession and you did not know this when you got married, you can obtain annulment under Virginia annulment laws.

Virginia Divorce Laws-Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the residency requirements for a divorce in VA?

    You or your spouse must have lived in Virginia for 6 months or longer.

  2. If I am living separate and dating, will that be considered adultery?

    Yes, dating with other people while you are still married comes under adultery and your spouse can claim under Virginia divorce grounds even if you are separated. Technically, adultery is the sexual relationship with someone else other than the legal spouse while you are married. It is a fault divorce ground according to Virginia divorce laws.

  3. What is desertion?

    Desertion means leaving a spouse with an intention of permanent separation. The difference between separation and desertion is that desertion takes place on the wish of one spouse while separation is the joint decision to live separately. Desertion is a legal divorce ground in Virginia divorce laws.

  4. What are the conditions of separation in VA?

    According to Virginia divorce laws, divorce claimed upon desertion or cruelty requires one year separation. While in case of no-fault divorce, one year or six months separation is required for filing a Virginia divorce. Adultery is the only ground on the basis of which Virginia divorce is granted immediately.

  5. What is equitable distribution?

    Under the Virginia divorce laws, marital property is divided fairly among the spouses. The method which Virginia court follows for property distribution is knowns as equitable distribution.

  6. Who will get the child custody in Virginia?

    According to Virginia divorce laws, decision of custody is the legal right of the child. The child is granted the authority to choose with whom s/he wants to live. The Virginia divorce court gives sole or joint custody to the parents. In sole custody, one parent will be given the child custody while the other one has only granted the right to visit the child. Joint custody is one in which both the parents are responsible to make decisions regarding religion, medical, educational needs etc.

  7. Does child custody depend upon parent’s income?

    No. The judge consider all the circumstances regarding attitude, financial issues, medical facilities etc. and then declare the child custody.

  8. What is alimony and how it can be determined?

    Alimony, maintenance or spousal support is the amount paid by one spouse to another to cover up the financial requirements. Spousal support may either be permanent or temporary. The court considers the gross income, living standards and other necessities to declare the percentage of alimony.

  9. Can my spouse and I hire the same divorce lawyer?

    Virginia divorce laws say that both the spouses cannot hire the same divorce lawyer. Even in case of uncontested divorces both plaintiff and defendant must hire two different divorce lawyers.

  10. I don’t have enough resources, can I represent myself in the court?

    Representing yourself in the court is your legal right. But it is advised not to do so if you are not familiar with court proceedings. If you don’t know the paperwork and your legal rights, then you should hire a Virginia divorce lawyer.

  11. What is the difference between marital and non-marital property?

    According to Virginia divorce laws, marital property is one which is acquired during marriage by you and your’s spouse. While non-marital property is one which is owned by either you or by your spouse.

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