Virginia law requires couples seeking a divorce to live separate and apart for one year prior to filing to filing for a divorce. However, this period can be shortened to six months if the couple: 1) has no minor children (under the age of 18) and 2) sign a property settlement agreement. Also, if a spouse commits adultery, the other spouse is not required to wait a year before filing for divorce. One benefit to this Virginia family law is that it is much less expensive to obtain a divorce based on living separate and apart versus litigating a long, protracted, contested divorce that is based on cause. At The Law Office of Scott S. Ives, we understand the in’s and out’s of Virginia family law and Virginia child support. We implement the benefits to the best of our abilities and do everything possible to make sure your divorce is as smooth and painless as is possible.
Many people do not realize that a party can obtain temporary Virginia child support and/or alimony before the separation period is completed. Similarly, many clients are unaware that a couple is allowed to live separately in the same home if both agree that they are truly living separate and apart (i.e. they are not engaging in sexual relations and live as roommates-not as husband and wife).
Another aspect of Virginia family law that the average person does not understand is the distribution of assets. Virginia is an equitable distribution state. This means that, in many occasions, a judge may choose to simply divide assets up evenly two parties. However, a judge is not required to make an equal division of assets since Virginia is an “equitable distribution” state rather than a “community property” state. This means that a judge will review a list of factors before determining how to divide a couples’ assets and whether to award spousal support. In recent years, Virginia courts have also adopted the position that parties may trace back separate property and money so that they can recover this money during the divorce.
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