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Do I need to prove why a court should grant me a divorce?

| Jul 2, 2019 | Divorce |

Divorce has become so common that almost everyone knows at least one person who has gone through the process. This can give the impression that it is easy to get a divorce, although this is not always the case.

If you think it is necessary to end your marriage and you plan to file for divorce, you will eventually need to decide what ground for divorce best fits your situation. A ground is a legally valid reason, and the ground that you choose will affect what you may need to prove to be granted a divorce.

Fault grounds

When people talk about getting a divorce, they usually mean a divorce from the bond of matrimony, which is a complete and absolute form of divorce. When filing for this type of divorce you can choose one of several fault-based grounds or a no-fault ground.

Fault grounds accuse your spouse of a marital misconduct and blame the need for the divorce on that misconduct. In general, you must prove that the misconduct occurred and your spouse will have the option to defend himself or herself. If you do not adequately prove that the misconduct occurred or if your spouse successfully defends against the accusation, a court may not grant you a divorce.

Fault grounds include:

  • Adultery
  • Sodomy
  • Buggery
  • Conviction of a felony

No-fault ground

Unlike Virginia’s fault grounds, the state’s no-fault ground does not blame the need for divorce on either spouse. To use Virginia’s no-fault ground, you must show a court that you and your spouse intentionally lived apart for at least a year. If you have no kids and have already entered into a property settlement or separation agreement, that time frame may be reduced to six months.

Another option

If you do not yet have grounds for an absolute divorce, you may have grounds for a divorce from bed and board. This type of divorce is a partial divorce that allows a couple to separate, but does not allow either spouse to remarry.

Although divorce from bed and board may not be your fist choice to end your marriage, it can be later merged into an absolute divorce. The grounds for a divorce from bed and board are all fault-based and include willful desertion, abandonment and cruelty.

Regardless of the ground you use, you will be expected to provide some proof to the court. However, depending on your unique circumstances, some grounds may be easier to prove than others. Selecting the most appropriate ground for your situation can help you reach the best possible divorce outcome.