Divorce in Virginia

Divorce in Virginia

There are two types of divorce in Virginia.  One is a Divorce from Bed and Board, which severs much of the legal responsibilities between the parties, but does not completely sever the marital relationship.  In a Divorce from Bed and Board, neither party is permitted to remarry until a complete divorce is adjudicated.  A complete divorce can be granted on fault grounds, such as sexual infidelity (adultery, sodomy, or buggery), physical or mental cruelty, apprehension of bodily harm, conviction of a felony, desertion or abandonment.

A complete divorce may be granted on no-fault grounds, as well, if the parties have been separated for one year, or, in the alternative if they (a)  have been separated for six months, (b) have no minor children, and (c) have signed a separation agreement.

Grounds for divorce are set out in the Code at Section 20-91(A).

§ 20-91. Grounds for divorce from bond of matrimony; contents of decree.

A. A divorce from the bond of matrimony may be decreed:

(1) For adultery; or for sodomy or buggery committed outside the marriage;

(2) [Repealed.]

(3) Where either of the parties subsequent to the marriage has been convicted of a felony, sentenced to confinement for more than one year and confined for such felony subsequent to such conviction, and cohabitation has not been resumed after knowledge of such confinement (in which case no pardon granted to the party so sentenced shall restore such party to his or her conjugal rights);

(4), (5) [Repealed.]

(6) Where either party has been guilty of cruelty, caused reasonable apprehension of bodily hurt, or willfully deserted or abandoned the other, such divorce may be decreed to the innocent party after a period of one year from the date of such act; or

(7), (8) [Repealed.]

(9) (a) On the application of either party if and when the husband and wife have lived separate and apart without any cohabitation and without interruption for one year. In any case where the parties have entered into a separation agreement and there are no minor children either born of the parties, born of either party and adopted by the other or adopted by both parties, a divorce may be decreed on application if and when the husband and wife have lived separately and apart without cohabitation and without interruption for six months. A plea of res adjudicata or of recrimination with respect to any other provision of this section shall not be a bar to either party obtaining a divorce on this ground; nor shall it be a bar that either party has been adjudged insane, either before or after such separation has commenced, but at the expiration of one year or six months, whichever is applicable, from the commencement of such separation, the grounds for divorce shall be deemed to be complete, and the committee of the insane defendant, if there be one, shall be made a party to the cause, or if there be no committee, then the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the insane defendant.