FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2012-04-10
Although every state in the U.S. offers some form of “no fault” divorce, each state has unique laws regarding divorce, child custody and property division. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, there are two types of divorce: divorce from bed and board and a divorce from the bond of matrimony.
Divorce From Bed and Board
Divorce from bed and board is a form of divorce in which a husband and wife live separately from one another, but they are not yet legally permitted to marry someone else. A court may grant a divorce from bed and board if a spouse presents evidence of willful desertion, abandonment or cruelty.
In a case of willful desertion or abandonment, there must be proof that one spouse intended to abandon or desert the marriage. A court may then award a party a divorce from the bond of matrimony.
In a case of cruelty, there must be evidence that one spouse’s physical acts caused the breakdown in the marriage. A victim of cruelty can file for divorce from bed and board immediately after an act of cruelty occurs. A court may award a victim of cruelty a divorce from the bond of matrimony.
Divorce From the Bond of Matrimony
Divorce from the bond of matrimony immediately dissolves the marriage and does not restrict the former spouses’ ability to remarry. The least complicated form of this divorce is “no fault” divorce. In this situation, a couple can be granted a divorce if they are able to prove that they have willfully lived separately for a period exceeding one year. Any intimate contact within that one-year period will cause the one-year waiting period to reset. However, if the two parties do not have children and have a fully signed property settlement agreement, then a court can award a no fault divorce after six months.
Adultery is also grounds for a divorce from the bond of matrimony. Obtaining a divorce on the grounds of adultery requires conclusive and satisfactory evidence; eyewitness testimony, however, is not a requirement.
Once the grounds for divorce are established, the divorcing couple must resolve several issues. For example, does one ex need spousal support? The court will consider such factors as the cause of the divorce and the ability of an ex to care for himself or herself financially after the divorce. If the divorcing couple has children, the court will award child custody according to the best interests of the children.
Divorce is an emotionally traumatic experience. It is also a legal process that requires the help of an experienced attorney. If you are facing divorce, contact a divorce lawyer to discuss the grounds for divorce, as well as property division, alimony and child support issues.