Divorce in Virginia -- it's not always no-fault

by Philip Yabut in

No-fault (uncontested) divorce became commonplace late in the last century, and now it has become a lot easier to end a marriage than it had been historically.  Since the bonds of matrimony were chiefly religion-based, civil law made it exceedingly difficult to break them.  But even before the divorce revolution of the late-20th century, there were ways to get out of a marriage.  And, in fact, Virginia still has them on the books (Va. Code § 20-91(A)(1-6)).

Virginia, of course, has its uncontested divorce law at § 20-91(A)(9)(a).  The other "fault" grounds are:

1. Adultery,

2. Sodomy or "buggery" (sexual act against nature) committed outside the marriage,

3. Conviction of a felony by either party resulting in one year imprisonment, and

4. Cruelty or willful desertion, one year after the date of such act.  In cases of cruelty, the abused spouse will not be charged with desertion if s/he leaves the marital home as a result.

DC no longer has fault grounds for divorce -- all proceedings must begin after living separate and apart for six months if it is voluntary and mutual.  If it is not mutual and voluntary, the period is one year.

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