In Virginia, there are two variations on no-fault divorce.
First is if the parties live separate and apart for 12 months or more; either party may then file for a divorce on that ground.
Second, there is an expedited, no-fault divorce which is a variation that requires three elements to be met before a divorce is granted. They are:
• The parties live separate and apart for six months or more;
• The parties have a signed, legal separation agreement fully disposing of any and all rights and liabilities arising out the marital relationship;
• The parties have no children or no minor children from the marriage.
In the second instance, because the couple has a separation agreement in place, the divorce will be considered “uncontested.”
In the first instance, just because people live separate and apart for one year does not guarantee a divorce will be uncontested. “No-fault” and “uncontested” are not synonymous terms in Virginia divorce laws. In fact, you won’t find the words “no-fault” in the code of Virginia.
Either spouse can file “no-fault” in Virginia and still face a contested divorce because the couple doesn’t have a separation agreement fully disposing of any and all rights and liabilities arising out of the marriage.
The Holy Grail in divorce is getting an uncontested, no-fault divorce after either living separate and apart for 12 months or more or living separate and apart for six months or more, having no children or minor children and having a comprehensive separation agreement as found in the code of Virginia.
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