Desertion & Abandonment in Virginia Divorce Law

Divorce Lawyers Serving Northern Virginia

Desertion and abandonment is grounds for divorce in the state of Virginia. When a spouse walks out on a marriage, it can sometimes mean walking out on any children, too. If your spouse has willfully left your marriage, you have the right to file for a fault-based divorce in Virginia.

Desertion or abandonment in Virginia divorce law must be proved using one of three ways:

  1. The deserting spouse left against the wishes of the deserted spouse
  2. The deserted spouse was not at fault to justify the abandonment
  3. The deserting spouse’s intent was to end their marriage

If you have been abandoned by your spouse and would like to file for divorce in Northern Virginia, call Graham Law Firm, PLLC today. Our family law firm is made up of a team of attorneys with more than 23 years of combined divorce law experience practicing in the Northern Virginia area, including Arlington County, Fairfax County, Fauquier County, Loudoun County, Prince William County, and beyond.


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  • What Is Desertion?

    Also known as abandonment, desertion in Virginia divorce law is when one spouse leaves the other unjustifiably and willingly with the intent to end their marriage. If you and your spouse are legally separated, you cannot use desertion as grounds for your divorce. If you plan on leaving your marriage, we always recommend consulting with a divorce attorney first.

    Keep in mind, not all absences qualify as desertion—a grounds for divorce that requires proof that one spouse broke the matrimonial cohabitation with an intent of abandonment.

  • Constructive Desertion in Northern Virginia Divorce Law

    Often times, families and spouses living in Northern Virginia approach us with questions about their marital status and if their grounds for divorce are justified under Virginia divorce law. Did you know you can charge your spouse with constructive desertion if your spouse has not, and will not, physically leave your home, but has already checked-out or deserted his or her marriage?

    For example, if a spouse has been abusive or cruel and forces you to leave your home, you can charge your spouse with constructive desertion, even if they physically remain in the residence.

    If you believe your spouse is guilty of constructive desertion and has abandoned your marriage, schedule a family law consultation with one of our divorce lawyers.

  • Desertion in Divorce: Timeline

    A final divorce settlement cannot be granted on the grounds of desertion or abandonment until at least one year has passed since the desertion.

  • Divorce Lawyers in Northern Virginia

    Whether you’re the victim of cruelty in your marriage or were simply abandoned by your spouse, call Graham Law Firm, PLLC. We are the family law firm families in Northern Virginia turn to for their divorce needs.

    Our goal is to look out for you and to help you reach a divorce settlement that is beneficial for you. We use our decades of combined experience and superior legal knowledge to ensure you receive the outcome you desire in your divorce.

    Schedule a divorce law consultation in Northern Virginia today.

    Our divorce law and family law jurisdictions include:

    Arlington County (VA): Arlington & Crystal City

    Fairfax County (VA): Annandale, Herndon, Laurel Hill, McLean, Reston, Tysons Corner & Vienna

    Fauquier County (VA): Bealeton, Orlean, Warrenton

    Loudoun County (VA): Ashburn, Leesburg, Purcellville, Sterling

    Prince William County (VA): Gainesville, Lake Ridge, Woodbridge

    Northern VA: City of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Great Falls, Manassas, Manassas Park & Winchester

    Learn about other grounds for fault-based divorce in Northern Virginia:

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