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Divorce in Virginia

  • Is there a no-fault divorce in Virginia?

Yes. On the application of either party if and when the husband and wife have lived separate and apart without any cohabitation and without interruption for one year. In any case where the parties have entered into a separation agreement and there are no minor children either born of the parties, born of either party and adopted by the other or adopted by both parties, a divorce may be decreed on application if and when the husband and wife have lived separately and apart without cohabitation and without interruption for six months.

  • What is the difference between a “Divorce a Mensa” (Divorce from Bed and Board) and “Divorce a Vinculo” (Absolute Divorce)?

A “Divorce a Mensa” is the equivalent of a legal separation.  It does not dissolve the bond of matrimony and does not affect the property rights of the parties who continue to be husband and wife unless a decree expressly provides that the separation will be perpetual and shall sever the property rights. A “Divorce a Vinculo” is an absolute divorce.  It extinguishes all contingent rights of either spouse in the property of the other spouse.

  • Is the 5th Amendment going to shield me from admitting to an affair (adultery)?

Maybe.  The 5th Amendment privilege can be used when there is a risk of criminal prosecution.  In Virginia, the statute of limitations for prosecution of adultery is one year. This is a tricky privilege, because it can be waived if not careful about asserting the privilege throughout the line of questioning about adultery.

 

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