To be safe, bring copies of your leases with you to court if you have moved a lot.
Some Virginia counties may require a sheriff's proof of residency, and in all Northern Virginia jurisdictions you may have to provide a valid Virginia driver's license bearing your present address for review by the commissioner or judge. However, emergency, custody or other matters may be filed in Virginia without six months residency. Resident vs.
Non-Resident A court may take on a divorce proceeding even if your spouse is not a resident of Virginia. If you or your spouse move to another state after the divorce has been filed, you may still have your case heard in Virginia. However, you must prove that you are not living in a state temporarily in order to get a divorce.
Back to Top. Register to vote. Get a driver's license. Get a job. Open charge accounts. Register your car. Take out a library card. The list is endless. But whatever you do, do not maintain a residence in another state that could imply that you do not intend to remain in the state from which you file. Virginia law requires that you be a "domiciliary" as well as a resident of the Commonwealth. This means that you live in Virginia with the intent to remain there. Proof of domicile is you and your witness' testimony at the hearing.
Virginia has counties that govern which court your divorce will take place in. This is called venue. In Virginia, you can file suit in the county where you last lived together as husband and wife, in the county where the defendant resides if he or she is still a resident of the state, or in the county where you reside if the defendant is a nonresident. For example, if you lived as husband and wife in Roanoke County and you then moved to Arlington County, while your spouse moved to Ohio, you could file suit in Roanoke County or Arlington County.
You must be careful that you file in the appropriate county or the court may transfer your suit to the appropriate jurisdiction at your expense in time and money. Divorce, Separation and Annulment. Divorce is the ending of a marriage ordered by a court. In Virginia, however, you could ask for two types of divorce: absolute and limited. When the court decrees orders an absolute divorce, it means that the divorce is permanent, permits remarriage, and terminates property claims.
4 Critical Tenets of Virginia Divorce Laws
This is known as a "divorce a vinculo matrimonii" meaning from the bonds of matrimony. When the court decrees a limited divorce, it means that the divorce is not permanent, does not permit remarriage, and does not terminate property claims but the limited divorce may settle these claims ; it serves only to legalize the separation and provide for support. This is known as a "divorce a mensa et thoro" from bed and board. There is n0 such term as a legal separation in Virginia. You are not required to get a limited divorce before you can get an absolute divorce - there is a common misconception that you need a legal separation in order to get a divorce.
This is not the case. Annulment establishes that your marital status never existed. The court will declare that you were never married. Because the courts rarely grant an annulment, you should think twice about using this route if you want to end your marriage. The court may look to, but is not limited to, the legitimacy of children and the preservation of the sanctity of marriage. Because of these consideration a court will look to granting a divorce instead of an annulment. Grounds There are three principal players involved in your marriage that will also be involved in your divorce: you, your spouse, and the Commonwealth.
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You cannot simply break up, saddle your charger, and ride off into the sunset. Among other legal considerations, you have to give the Commonwealth an acceptable reason why you should be allowed to break up. The reason is known as the ground for your divorce. Over the years each state has enacted legislation that governs acceptable grounds. There are different grounds for a divorce, separation, and annulment. In the case of an absolute divorce, there are five 5 grounds for a court to grant an absolute divorce:.
Adultery, Sodomy, Buggery. No specific waiting period if residency requirement has been fulfilled. Felony Conviction. At least one year imprisonment. One year of separation for such act. Cruelty that will support a divorce is anything that tends to cause bodily harm and renders cohabitation unsafe or that involves danger to life, the person, or health.
A single act of cruelty will not support divorce on this ground. One year of separation for each act. Voluntary separation. Either six months with a valid separation and no minor children agreement, or one year if there is no agreement or you have minor children. Any one of these grounds, if proved, will result in the complete dissolution of the marriage look to each ground in order to find out how to prove that ground. You can file for divorce under more than one ground: for instance, adultery and desertion. In the case of a limited divorce, there are four 4 grounds for a court to grant a limited divorce:.
Although any one of these grounds is enough for a limited divorce, a limited divorce will not completely terminate your marital status.
In order to do so you must either seek an absolute divorce or an annulment. In Virginia there are two types of annulment. In the first type the marriage is declared void ab initio, or from its inception, as though it had never existed. You do not legally have to go to court to have the marriage declared void ab initio, although it's a good idea to do so.
In the case of an annulment, a marriage must be "totally void" in order for it to be considered annulled. There are two characteristics of a "totally void" marriage:. One such defect is if your spouse was formally married to someone else and still has not divorced that person. Your marriage to this spouse is considered totally void. The grounds for a void marriage are bigamy, marriage between an ancestor and a descendant, brother and sister, aunt and nephew, and uncle and niece.
In Virginia, the grounds for voidable annulments of marriage are bigamy; impotency at the time of marriage; conviction of a felony prior to marriage, but not discovered until after; the wife's pregnancy at the time of the marriage with someone else's child-a fact unknown to her husband; the husband's siring of a child by another woman within ten months after the marriage; or the party's having been without the knowledge of the other a prostitute before the marriage.
If either party is under the age of consent 16 years old the marriage may be declared void by the court. Most annulments also can be obtained before the expiration of two years after the marriage ceremony in most cases. If you want an annulment, move quickly. Although annulments may be granted, the preference of the court is not to annul, but for the parties to divorce. Also, any marriage that is expressly prohibited by statute is void by annulment.
Divorce Attorneys in Northern Virginia
Waiting Periods for Absolute Divorce. Under each ground for an absolute divorce, there is a provision for when you can bring the lawsuit against your spouse to the court.
However, if you claim that your spouse committed adultery, you can bring the action for absolute divorce at any time. As long as you can fulfill the residency requirement discussed in the residency section there is no time limit when claiming adultery. In a claim of desertion, however, you may have a time-limit problem.
Whether the desertion was actual or constructive, you must wait a year after the event of desertion before you file for an absolute divorce. For a voluntary separation, you must have been voluntarily separated for at least 6 months if you have a valid separation agreement and there are no minor children. If you don't have a separation agreement and there are minor children, you must wait one year.
The closet the Commonwealth of Virginia has to a "no fault" divorce is known as voluntary separation.
4 Critical Tenets of Virginia Divorce Laws
It usually means that you and your spouse have separated after mutually and voluntarily agreeing that you no longer wish to live together as husband and wife and that there is no hope for reconciliation. Your spouse cannot threaten or black mail you into leaving on this ground; you separate because you want to.
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To get a divorce on this ground you have to be separated for one year if you have minor children and or nor separation agreement; or six months if you do not have minor children and you have a valid separation agreement. In Virginia you can be living separate and apart under the same roof, but this is difficult to prove, and you will have to prove it at the hearing. Adultery is sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than the spouse.
In Virginia, sodomy is a ground for divorce, as well as buggery anal intercourse. A divorce will not be granted if it occurred more than five years before the institution of the suit, or if it was committed by the connivance of the party alleging the act. There probably is no such thing as a pleasant adultery case; because names, dates, places, paramours, and the like have to be brought out in the open. If your spouse no longer cares about what you know and is open about the affair, you're lucky.
You can then catch your spouse flagrante delicto, which means you have your spouse in the flagrant wrong and may not have to worry about hiring detectives. However, you may still need a detective to prove your case in court. There is still a need for a corroborative witness, such as a mutual friend or neighbor, who has no stake in the matter except telling the court what he she witnessed.
Most adultery cases are proven by circumstantial evidence, which means that you have to establish that your spouse had the disposition and opportunity to commit adultery.
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