VIRGINIA DIVORCE LAWS:
The Residency Requirement: In Virginia, to file for divorce, one of the spouses must have been a resident of Virginia for at least six months prior to filing for divorce.
No Fault: Living separate and apart for a period of one year. If there are no children, the period reduced to six months. Insanity is not a bar to seeking a divorce on this ground.
Fault: Adultery, or sodomy or buggery committed outside of marriage; Conviction of a felony or incarceration for at least one year; If cruelty, reasonable apprehension of bodily hurt, or willful desertion and abandonment, divorce may be granted one year from the date of such act.
Note: Virginia also offers a simple “separate-and-apart,” uncontested divorce: grounds are given in a deposition before a Notary Public, or in oral presentation in an open court. The grounds must be proven by testimony, and corroborated by an independent witness. The parties then submit a final decree to the court, along with their property settlement. When a judge signs the decree, the parties are divorced.
Property Division: Virginia is an equitable-distribution, dual-classification state. That means property is classified as either separate or marital; separate property must go to the property owner, while marital property is divided between the parties “equitably.” Equitable means fairly, based on how the parties acquired and treated the property during the marriage; it does not mean equally. The court cannot order the conveyance of separate or marital property not titled in the names of both parties, but it can award a monetary payment (click the following for an expert's overview and key tips on dividing up property through divorce).
Alimony: Alimony can be awarded to either spouse. Permanent alimony, however, cannot be awarded to a spouse who was at fault (that mean, was divorced on grounds), unless denial of support would be unjust.
Child custody and child support: If custody, visitation, or child support is contested, the parties in the divorce action must show proof that they have attended an educational seminar on parenting in the past 12 months, or that they will attend in the next 45 days. In some uncontested divorces, the parties may also be required to attend such seminars.
As in every state, custody is based on “the best interests of the child.” The Virginia court welcomes a joint plan between parties for custody and support. If the parties cannot arrive at such a plan, legal and/or physical custody may be awarded to the father or the mother.
Virginia child-support guidelines use an income shares model: the total obligation is divided between the mother and father according to their incomes. As a general rule, For a combined gross monthly income of:
- $2,000, support for one child is $338; for two children, $523; for three children, $655.
- $5,000, support for one child is $666; for two children, $1036; for three children, $1,295.
- $10,000, support for one child is $1,014; for two children, $1,577; for three children, $1,977.
The Virginia child support guidelines worksheets are available at: http://www.courts.state.va.us/forms/district/jdrcourt.html
Click the following for an expert's overview and a list of articles on child custody and child support.
The information supplied above is for "educational purposes only" and is not intended to be used as legal advice.