Statutory and regulatory changes will occur over time, which may affect the information in this Guide.Download or print the information below formatted as a brochure (pdf) Order printed copies (pdf) Given the percentage of marriages that end in divorce, anyone could be affected in some way by a separation or divorce.If the guilty spouse can successfully establish any one of these defenses, then a divorce will not be awarded on these grounds.These are very fact specific and should be reviewed with an attorney. Conviction of a felony If a spouse has been convicted of a felony, sentenced to confinement for more than one year, and is in fact confined, then the other party has grounds for a divorce from the bond of matrimony as long as he or she does not resume cohabitation with the guilty spouse after knowledge of the confinement.If the parties have entered into a Property Settlement or Separation Agreement and there are no minor children, the time period is reduced from one year to six months.Although separation provides a "faultless" ground for divorce, fault may still be an issue when spousal support (alimony) is being sought or can be a factor in determining the division of marital property.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.The evidence must be strict, satisfactory, and conclusive that the other spouse did in fact engage in sexual relations with another person.
However, if the conduct is such that it affects and endangers the mental or physical health of the divorce-seeking spouse, it may be sufficient to establish grounds for divorce.An annulment cannot be granted merely because the marriage is of short duration, and legal annulments are normally not granted for "religious" reasons.Virginia statutes now provide for the "equitable" distribution of the marital property between the parties at the conclusion of the divorce.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."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.