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When You Don’t Want a Virginia Divorce

While it takes two to tango, a Virginia divorce will generally be granted even if only one of the spouses wants the divorce. This is especially true with a no-fault divorce, which can be granted if all statutory criteria are met, even if one party does not want a divorce.

No Fault Virginia Divorce

If the statutory criteria for a no fault divorce have been met, the court will grant the divorce.  In order to obtain a no-fault Virginia divorce to which the other spouse does not consent, the spouses must have lived separate and apart for a period of one year, during which time period one spouse had the intention that the separation be permanent. There are generally no defenses to a no fault divorce, other than perhaps to contest that the statutory criteria have, in fact, been met.

Fault Based Virginia Divorce

If a divorce is requested based upon fault grounds, then the divorce may not be granted unless the proof of fault is clear and convincing.  However, even if the court determines that the proof of fault is insufficient, in most cases the parties will eventually meet the criteria for a no fault divorce, and the no fault divorce will be granted. The Virginia court has the authority to grant a no-fault divorce (once the statutory criteria for a no fault Virginia divorce have been met) even if the divorce was filed on fault based grounds.

It your spouse is determined to obtain a Virginia divorce and all statutory criteria can be met, it may be more sensible and cost effective to focus on structuring the divorce in a manner that meets your needs. The parties may still owe duties to each other, and may still have rights that need to be protected!  It is best to consult an experienced divorce attorney to help you understand your rights and responsibilities.  Make sure that your rights are protected so that the best possible outcome is achieved!


An outstanding job on my case to have custody, visitation and support decided in my home state instead of Virginia after I separated from military service.- A.E.