Divorce Options in Virginia


When contemplating getting a divorce in Virginia, you need to know your options:

Contested vs. Uncontested

  1. An uncontested divorce is not a divorce where you and your spouse both agree you want a divorce. An uncontested divorce means you have worked out all issues of your divorce, including spousal support, child support, child custody and visitation, and property distribution.  Typically this is codified in a Property Settlement Agreement.
  2. A contested divorce means that you have not resolved all issues of your marriage and at the time of filing for divorce, you need a trial for a judge to decide the issues, including support, custody, and property distribution.

Reasons for Divorce

No Fault Divorces

  1. One year separation: The Court will grant you a divorce due to the fact that you and your spouse have been living separate and apart for one year and you have no hope or probability of reconciliation.
  2. Six month separation: The Court will grant you a divorce due to the fact that you and your spouse have been separated for six months if you a. have a property settlement agreement; and b. have no children.

Fault Based Divorces

  1. Adultery: A court will grant a divorce on adultery only if you can prove adultery, which is Virginia means you must prove your spouse has sexual relations with another. Solid proof of adultery is necessary, not just suspicion.  This must be plead with specificity in the Complaint, ie, who what where when, etc.  Further, if you cohabitate with your spouse after you have knowledge of adultery, you cannot be granted a divorce on these grounds.
  2. Desertion, Constructive Desertion, abuse: This means your spouse left you or your spouse was so abusive that you had no choice but to leave him/her.


  1. For a no fault divorce, you cannot file for a divorce until your separation period is completed, either one year or two years. You can still have a contested no fault divorce if you have been separated, but don’t’ have a Property Settlement Agreement.  Please note that in most Northern Virginia Courts it takes a year to get through the Court system to a trial.  Therefore, by the time you are actually divorce, you will have been separated for 2 years.
  2. For fault based divorce you can file for divorce immediately after the faulting action. However, in the case of desertion, constructive desertion or abuse, a final divorce cannot be granted until one year after the faulting action occurs.


If you’re ready going through the divorce process, contact Keithley Law, PLLC  today by calling (703) 865-7710 and schedule an initial consultation in our Fairfax law office with one of our real estate attorneys. We can walk you through the steps to get the most out of your case.


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