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5 Virginia Divorce Laws You Need to Know

Posted on: August 4, 2021

When researching Virginia divorce laws, it can be confusing to find out what your rights are and where you stand within the law. We have put together the 5 divorce laws in Virginia that you need to know when preparing for a divorce.

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

There is a distinction between divorce from bed and board vs. divorce from bonds of matrimony. This section governs divorce from bonds of matrimony. When we typically talk about a ‘divorce’, we are talking about a divorce from bonds of matrimony.

Virginia recognizes the following grounds for divorce: adultery, felony conviction subsequent to marriage with sentence longer than one year, cruelty, desertion/constructive desertion, and one-year separation. Notably, when we talk about a ‘no fault divorce’, we are talking about a divorce based on one-year separation.

2. Best interests of the child; visitation – § 20-124.3

This is the governing statute regardless of whether your case is in circuit court or in juvenile & domestic relations district court. In Virginia, there is no presumption that the child is better off with either mom or dad. Instead, the court must look to all the statutory factors in this particular statute. Good starting reference point to see how your specific facts will be relevant to the court.

3. Governing statute for child support – § 20-108.2

In Virginia, whether in circuit court or juvenile & domestic relations district court, there exists a rebuttable presumption that child support will be pursuant to the guideline set forth in this section. Meaning, unless there exists a special circumstance, such as a child with special needs, what the child support would be in your case will likely follow guideline.

As such, this is a great resource to get a general idea what child support looks like at each different bracket of income, and what percentage you or your spouse would be respectively responsible for.

4. Governing statute for spousal support, otherwise known as alimony – § 20-107.1

Spousal support, unlike child support, has no presumptive guideline it follows. There is a guideline that lawyers typically use that many courts in Virginia find persuasive, but it’s not presumptive the same way as the child support guideline is presumptive. This statute list all the factors the court shall consider in setting spousal support, so it’s a good reference to see how your individual facts may be relevant to the court.

5. Governing statute for division of property – § 20-107.3

This statute discusses what a court may or may not order when it comes to dividing marital assets and debts. Notably, it discusses that a court must first classify all property a couple has as marital, separate, or hybrid. In Virginia, title does not control. Meaning, just because a car or house is only in your spouse’s name, does not necessarily mean you don’t have an interest in it. This statute discusses all the factors a court will consider in ordering equitable distribution of property/debts.

Consult with a Divorce Lawyer

The attorneys at Graham Law Firm are skilled negotiators and litigations and hold certifications in both mediation and Collaborative Divorce. We are here to help you decide which path is best for you.

Our goal is to help you achieve the best outcome given your circumstances. This includes time with your children, assets from the marriage, and reducing your liability for any outstanding bills you have as a couple. A divorce can be difficult, but the right attorney can help you through the process. We can assist you throughout the process and guide you through this difficult time.

Divorce Lawyers in Northern Virginia

If you are looking to file for divorce in the state of Virginia, the family law attorneys at Graham Law can help. Schedule online or call us at 703-443-9360 to schedule a consultation with a Northern Virginia divorce lawyer today.

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