Legal Separation in Virginia

Couples who divorce in Virginia can get divorced for reasons based on fault or no-fault reasons. No fault divorce grounds are for irreconcilable reasons with no intention of remaining married. The couples simply live apart for a year if there are minor children and a valid property agreement. If there are no children and a valid agreement, then the separation period may be reduced to six months instead of one year. Divorce reasons based on fault include abandonment and desertion, cruelty or adultery. Couples divorce should not consider dating until the divorce is final.

Adultery demonstrating

Virginia courts require sexual intercourse to prove adultery. Emotional effusions are not enough to prove adultery. These factors can be used as circumstantial evidence with other evidence, such as an overnight stay at the mistress’s house.

The ex-husband’s demonstration committed adultery becomes difficult once his spouse is not living in the conjugal house. Virginia circuit courts require conclusive evidence that the spouse committed adultery. The court will weigh all the evidence and make a determination as to whether adultery was committed – and if so, the effect of adultery on the division of property or alimony.

Defenses adultery

Condonation occurs when the non-adulterous spouse has forgiven the behavior for cohabiting with the adulterous spouse after knowing that the adultery occurred.

Acquisitions or connivance occurs when the other spouse actively facilitated the adulterous spouse in the deception excuses the adulterous spouse’s recrimination of the unlawful conduct because the other spouse has been proven to be committing adultery and is also at fault. Prescribed or prescribed serves as an affirmative defense when the adultery occurred after five years.

Distribution of property

Judges may consider adultery when property is divided. Virginia is an equitable distributions state which means that judges will try to divide marital property equally during the divorce process. Marital property is property acquired during the marriage. The separate property is the property that each one owned before the marriage that has not been mixed in the marital property. If the parties are not able to reach a mutually acceptable agreement by distributing the property, the court will cause the division on their behalf.

Guilt

Recent legislative changes to Virginia’s divorce law during the last decade allow adulterous spouses to request payments for food. Before this new norm, adultery was considered a complete bar for a spousal support award. Although judges are still allowed to consider adultery after separation as a factor in refusing to award spousal support, it is no longer a complete defense.

Custody and Visitation / child support

Adultery does not normally affect these decisions unless the other spouse is able to prove adultery has negatively impacted the child’s well-being. Virginia courts have a long-standing desire to involve parents in raising their children. The best interests of the child are of the utmost importance.

Adultery does not affect the basic child support obligations of the noncustodial parent. These are strictly determined by the use of child support guidelines based on proportional distribution actions.