The dissolution of a marriage often involves financial matters and property rights as well as complicated legal issues, especially when children are involved. Under Virginia law, there are a number of fault-based grounds for divorce, including adultery, willful desertion or abandonment, and cruelty. Virginia’s “no-fault” divorce is based on the parties living separate and apart, without cohabitation and without interruption, for a period in excess of one year. In cases where there are no minor children and the parties have a written property settlement agreement; this period can be shortened to six months.
The divorce process is begun by the filing of a Complaint in the Circuit Court, most often in the jurisdiction where the parties last lived. The parties may have been successful in reaching an agreement as to the division of their assets, support, and issues related to the children, either through negotiations or the use of mediation or the collaborative process. If so, the Complaint is filed asking the Court to incorporate the provisions of their agreement into a final decree of divorce. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the Court is asked to make decisions for the parties. Sometimes there are decisions that need to be made prior to the divorce being finalized, and the Court has the ability to grant temporary or pendente lite relief during the interim, such as who will have exclusive possession of the marital residence, or temporary custody or support during the interim period.
The Family Law Associates of Richmond PC divorce attorneys will explain to you all of the available options in reaching a resolution of your case, and help you decide which is best for you and your family.