Divorce in Virginia, Part 1

In Virginia, legal separation goes by another name


Some people inherently understand that divorce, or “dissolution of marriage,” is an emotionally charged process that is  painful to even contemplate. Likewise, many understand that at least consulting with an attorney is a wise move. However, often overlooked is the depth of emotional trauma and the benefit that can come from professional counseling. A compatible, experienced attorney can not only help with the legal matters of divorce but also can provide referrals to appropriate grief counseling.

Addressing domestic violence a priority

Furthermore, experts and legal authorities warn us that if the family equation includes domestic violence, it must be addressed immediately. An attorney can be of immense help in this arena, from securing shelter to filing appropriate protective or restraining orders. Virgina has a wealth of domestic violence resources, including these online resources:

‘Quirks’ in Virgina divorce statutes

As for the divorce process in Virginia, it differs a bit from other states; from the Virginia State Bar:

1. What are the Grounds for Divorce?

Virginia law recognizes two types of divorce: divorce from bed and board (a mensa et thoro) and a divorce from the bond of matrimony (a vinculo matrimonii). A divorce from bed and board is a partial or qualified divorce under which a husband and wife are legally separated from each other but are not permitted to remarry. A divorce from the bond of matrimony is a complete and absolute divorce. Any person granted a divorce from bed and board may ask the court to “merge” the decree into a divorce from the bond of matrimony after at least one year has passed from the date the parties originally separated.

The law requires that “grounds” (valid reasons for divorce prescribed by law) for divorce must exist and be proven to the court even if the husband and wife agree that a marriage should end. These grounds are briefly described below.

Interjection: We’ve excerpted the following, to show only the main sub-heads, so as to provide the basic information. Please check the Virginia Bar site, linked previously, for more in-depth explanation. OK, back to the site’s info:

Divorce from Bed and Board

a. Willful desertion or abandonment
b. Cruelty and reasonable apprehension of bodily harm

Continued in “Divorce in Virginia, Part 2.”

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