Divorce in Virginia, Part 3

Proving adultery can be tough; requires strict presentation of evidence

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Recap

In Part 1, we discuss benefits of hiring a qualified, in-tune, experienced divorce attorney, advantages beyond the legalities of ending a marriage, plus the urgent nature of dealing with domestic violence (including state-level resources for aid) and end with the basics of grounds for divorce; Part 2 provides more detail about certain grounds and explains the difference between divorce from bed and board as opposed to absolute divorce, the divorce from the bonds of matrimony.

Absolute divorce: more on grounds and such

As mentioned in Part 2, Virginia has its own take on some of these concepts.  Again from the Virginia State Bar, check out the second paragraph in the following passage:

While grounds for divorce traditionally implied misconduct by one or the other spouse, modern divorce laws do not require “fault” grounds for a divorce to be granted. A “no fault” divorce from the bond of matrimony may be awarded upon a showing that for more than one year the husband and wife both intended to and have continuously lived separate and apart without any cohabitation. If the husband and wife have entered into a Property Settlement or Separation Agreement and there are no minor children, the time period is reduced from one year to six months.

Although separation provides a “faultless” ground for divorce, fault may still be an issue when spousal support (alimony) is being sought or can be a factor in determining the division of marital property. Further, a judge is free to award a divorce on fault grounds even though “no fault” separation grounds exist, [and] conversely is free to award a “no divorce” even if fault grounds exist.

I don’t know about you, but that kinda’ talk makes my head spin.

Yes, I get–and even agree with–the change from “traditional to modern,” but that stuff about the judges’ powers makes my head twirl like the split-pea-soup-girl’s did in The Exorcist. If it were me getting a divorce in the Old Dominion State? I would want an attorney very connected or at least knowledgeable about all the state’s laws and all the local court’s rules and customs.

Explanation of fault-based grounds

Felony conviction of one of the spouses

“If the husband or wife has been convicted of a felony, sentenced to confinement for more than one year,” according to the bar, “and is in fact confined, then the other party has grounds for a divorce from the bond of matrimony as long as he or she does not resume cohabitation with the guilty spouse after knowledge of the confinement.”

Adultery, sodomy and buggery

The bar says adultery must be proved according to rigid specifications and that neither suspicion nor speculation will meet the criteria. Furthermore, according to the bar, ”

The “guilty” spouse has a number of ‘defenses’ to the charge of adultery, sodomy or buggery. If the guilty spouse can successfully establish any one of these defenses, then a divorce will not be awarded on these grounds. These are very fact specific and should be reviewed with an attorney.”

Venue

Divorce cases are filed in the circuit court of the county where either spouse resides or has a business.

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