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If desertion grounds exist, a suit for a divorce from bed and board may be filed with the court immediately after the separation.

If the desertion continues for more than one year from the date the parties originally separated, then the desertion is sufficient to constitute a ground for divorce from the bond of matrimony. Cruelty and reasonable apprehension of bodily harm Cruelty authorizing divorce requires acts that tend to cause bodily harm and render the spouses living together unsafe.

Buggery is bestiality or a sexual act against nature.

The standard of proof for these grounds is the same as that for adultery. The "guilty" spouse has a number of "defenses" to the charge of adultery, sodomy, or buggery.

Dissolving a marriage often involves property rights and financial matters, and can raise complicated legal problems, especially when children are involved.

The Family Law Section of the Virginia State Bar prepared this information to provide the public with basic answers to some of the fundamental legal questions concerning divorce and separation in Virginia.

Mental cruelty alone is not normally a ground for divorce in Virginia.

In fact, most cases of adultery are proven without eyewitness testimony by using other evidence of the circumstances involved.

Further, if one spouse leaves because the other has committed acts that legally amount to cruelty, then the spouse who leaves is not guilty of desertion.

In fact, the spouse who leaves may be awarded a divorce on the ground of cruelty or constructive desertion.

"Marital property" consists of all jointly-titled property as well as all other property, other than separate property, acquired by either or both of the parties from the date of the marriage through the time of the final separation.

"Separate property" is property owned by one party prior to the marriage, property acquired after the parties have separated, or inherited property and/or gifts to one party from a third person.

Further, a judge is free to award a divorce on fault grounds even though "no fault" separation grounds exist, conversely a judge is free to award a “no fault divorce” even if fault grounds exist. Adultery, sodomy, or buggery Proving adultery is very fact-specific.

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