No matter how eager you are to get out of your marriage, divorce is still stressful for everyone involved. There are always financial details to sort out even if you and your spouse own little or no property together. Laws vary from one state to another about dividing marital property in a divorce and about what counts as a valid reason for dissolving a marriage; in some states, you do not even need a reason other than having decided that your marriage is beyond repair. Virginia is the correct place to file your divorce papers if you have continuously been residing in Virginia for six months, even if your spouse lives in another state. If you are planning to divorce, contact a Clintwood divorce attorney.
What Counts as Grounds for Divorce in Virginia?
Virginia is not a no-fault divorce state. This means that you must have grounds for divorce; grounds means a legally valid reason. There are two ways in which you can have grounds for divorce in Virginia. One is that if you can show that your spouse is at fault for ruining the marriage; you can do this by proving that your spouse committed adultery, committed a major crime, intentionally wasted marital assets, or lied to you about things that caused you physical or financial harm, to name just a few examples.
The other way to show grounds for divorce is to sign a written agreement with your spouse that you plan to separate. If you do not have children, you must sign and abide by the agreement for six months before filing for divorce, and if you have children, you must wait one year after signing the agreement. Not everyone can afford to move out of the marital home before filing for divorce, but you and your spouse should at least sleep in separate bedrooms. If you reconcile with your spouse after signing the agreement, it becomes invalid. Do not be intimate with your spouse after signing an agreement to separate; this will sabotage your divorce case.
What is Marital Property, and How Much of it Do You Get to Keep?
Like most states, Virginia is an equitable distribution state. This means that the court decides on a case-by-case basis how to divide the marital property in a way that is fair to both spouses; it does not necessarily divide the marital property in half. Marital property is any money you have earned or assets you have purchased during the marriage. Property that you have owned since before the marriage is separate property, which means that the court cannot make you share it with your ex-spouse; inherited wealth and personal injury settlements are also separate property. If you used your separate property for your spouse’s benefit during the marriage, the court may decide that it is marital property.
Contact Greg Baker Attorneys at Law PLLC About Your Divorce Case
The lawyers at Greg Baker Attorneys at Law PLLC serve the southwestern Virginia community and provide legal services by treating you like a human being and not a statistic. Contact Greg Baker Attorneys at Law PLLC to set up a consultation.