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How long do you have to be separated to get a divorce in Virginia? 

A majority of states require couples to be separated before no-fault divorce, and Virginia is no exception. In order to get divorced in Virginia, it is required that you live apart from your spouse for at least 12 months before you can file for an uncontested divorce. (In a fault divorce, one spouse must prove that the other spouse acted in a way that permanently damaged the marriage. Common reasons include adultery, cruelty, and abandonment.)

The required separation period is six months when there are no children under the age of 18. To apply for the six-month period, the couple must have a signed Property Settlement Agreement (PSA) as well.

To legally file for divorce in Virginia, the person filing must have been a legal resident for no less than six months. They can file for divorce in the county where they and their spouse live or where the defendant lives. Some states allow for legal separation, which is when the spouses have the same rights as a divorce without legally divorcing. Legal separation is not an option in Virginia. The only way to end a marriage is for the couple to file for divorce.

With uncontested divorces, you can avoid going to court by requesting to have your divorce heard by affidavit instead of a court hearing. This can expedite the process. But the actual timeline depends on the schedule of the judge assigned to your case.

Separating from your spouse is often a difficult decision. It’s strongly recommended that you work with experienced Virginia divorce attorney Mike Deering. He will help you to take the right steps as you establish a specific date that you will be separated. Call now for a consultation, during which you can learn more about how our firm can help during this challenging time.

Living Separate and Apart

Living “separate and apart” for purposes of a divorce requires two things: physical separation and at least one of the spouses intending that the separation be permanent.

  1. Physical Separation. This is typically achieved by one party moving out of the marital residence. The law in Virginia does, however, allow spouses to live separately and apart under the same roof for purposes of their six- or 12-month separation period.
  2. Intent. One of the parties has to have decided that the marriage is finished and communicated that to their spouse. This can be done via email, text, or in-person conversation. However, it is recommended you state the intention to end the marriage in writing. The courts will need evidence to corroborate the date of separation. The best way to prove your separation date is for both you and your spouse to sign a separation agreement.

Talk with a Family Lawyer About Your Separation

Virginia divorce laws can be complicated. Individuals must meet certain requirements before they can even file for divorce. If you and your spouse have separated and are thinking about getting a divorce, you will want to consult with an experienced Virginia family law attorney to go over your options.

An experienced divorce attorney could help you draft your separation agreement and will work to help you reach a divorce settlement that meets your needs and desires.

Virginia divorce attorney Mike Deering has extensive experience helping people in Virginia navigate the tricky waters of separation and divorce. While we know that you never got married with the intention of getting a divorce, know that a bright future awaits you. With our help, we’ll work to resolve this matter and help you move on with your life.

For a confidential consultation to discuss your specific situation, call Mike Deering at (757)317-5676.

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