If you are considering separating or divorcing from your spouse, it is important that you understand Virginia’s legal requirements. You may be able to continue living under one roof but still establish that you have been separated so you can advance your case for a no-fault divorce. Here is what you need to know about establishing a separate life in a Virginia divorce case while legally married. 

Virginia Requirements for a No-Fault Divorce

Virginia law only allows spouses to get a divorce if they have valid grounds for one. These are divided into fault-based and no-fault grounds.

Many spouses prefer to get a no-fault divorce because it tends to be uncontested. Contested divorces are usually more complicated, long, and expensive. In a no-fault divorce, the spouse seeking divorce does not have to prove the fault of the other spouse. 

However, to obtain a no-fault divorce, Virginia law requires that the spouses must have lived separately and apart without cohabitation or interruption for one year if they do not have minor children or after six months if they have an agreement on marital rights and no minor children. 

Reasons Spouses May Continue To Live Together During Divorce

This situation usually arises when the spouses need to continue to live together for economic reasons. They may have only one income and be unable to support two separate households. They may have children and want to provide stability for them. Additionally, spouses will still generally remain liable for marital expenses, even if they don’t live together, such as the home mortgage. 

How To Remain Separated – Even While Living Together

If you want to seek a divorce but cannot afford to live in a separate home, you can prepare for this divorce by starting to live separately – even if you are under the same roof. You can begin establishing a second household under your roof and act in a way that the courts are more likely to accept that you are living separately and apart without cohabitation. 

Some strategies to achieve these objectives include:

  • Refraining from having sexual relations
  • Using a separate bedroom and bathroom
  • Not wearing your wedding ring
  • Not giving gifts to your spouse or joint gifts to others
  • Dividing expenses
  • Not sharing financial accounts 
  • Not cooking meals for your spouse
  • Not cleaning up or doing laundry for your spouse 
  • Keeping separate schedules
  • Not attending social events together
  • Spending time with your children at different times 
  • Spending holidays and vacations separately 
  • Not presenting yourself as spouses when socializing 

Be prepared to provide receipts and have witnesses who can testify that you and your spouse are living separate lives. 

Other Grounds for Divorce In Virginia

If you cannot live separate and apart or the court does not accept that you have been separated, there may be other grounds you can assert to get a divorce in Virginia, including:

  • Adultery
  • Desertion or marital abandonment
  • Cruelty and creating fear of harm
  • A felony conviction resulting in one year or more of prison time

Before filing for divorce or trying to establish a legally recognized period of separation, reach out to an experienced Virginia divorce lawyer for legal advice and guidance.

Contact The Divorce Law Firm of Law Office of Afsana Chowdhury, PLC in Fairfax, VA.

If you are considering divorce in Virginia, especially one in which you might need to continue to live under the same roof with your spouse, an experienced divorce lawyer can help. A compassionate attorney can review your case, answer any questions you have about the divorce process, and explain your legal rights and options during a confidential case review. 

A seasoned law firm can provide you with cost-effective legal services and will work tirelessly to help you secure the best results possible in your case. For more information, please contact an experienced Divorce lawyer at Law Office of Afsana Chowdhury, PLC to schedule an initial consultation today. Our law office is located in Fairfax, VA.

We proudly serve Fairfax, VA, and its surrounding areas

Law Office of Afsana Chowdhury
10805 Main St STE 700A, Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 271-6519