office location :
Messman Law, PLC
2181 Upton Drive, Unit 418 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23454
phone : 757-340-5800
Messman Law, PLC
Contact Us

Types of Divorce

You are here: |
Home / Practice Areas / Family Law / Types of Divorce

Types of Divorce in Virginia: Absolute and Qualified

Divorce and Separation in Chesapeake and Norfolk

The Commonwealth of Virginia recognizes both absolute and qualified types of divorce. An absolute divorce (a vinculo matrimonii) is the more typical form of divorce. It provides for a permanent dissolution of the marriage, allows for remarriage of the parties, and puts an end to property claims. It can be achieved through litigation, as in a contested divorce, or negotiation of a divorce settlement in an uncontested divorce. Divorce settlements can also be reached through a cooperative process known as collaborative divorce.

In contrast, a qualified divorce (a mensa et thoro) only legalizes the separation of the parties and provides for support. This type of divorce is not permanent, does not allow remarriage, and does not necessarily terminate property claims. However, there are valid reasons in certain situations to seek a qualified divorce. The skilled matrimonial lawyers in Virginia Beach can discuss contested and uncontested divorce with you and help you decide the best path to take for your divorce.

Grounds for divorce in Virginia

While the most common grounds for an absolute divorce are voluntarily living separate and apart for the appropriate amount of time, alternative grounds that allow a party to obtain an absolute divorce include the following:

  • Adultery within the past five years
  • Conviction of a felony and imprisonment for over one year after the marriage
  • Physical, emotional, or mental cruelty with one year of separation
  • Willful desertion or abandonment for one year

In the case of a qualified divorce, grounds include:

  • Cruelty
  • Reasonable apprehension of bodily hurt
  • Desertion
  • Willful abandonment

Norfolk and Chesapeake Separation

While there is no such thing as a formal legal separation in Virginia, it may be advisable at various times to live apart pursuant to a Separation Agreement that delineates terms and issues of your divorce. The most common ground for obtaining a divorce in Virginia is living separately and apart without cohabitation for a period of one year. A qualified divorce is similar to what is called a legal separation in many states. For additional divorce information, see our divorce FAQs page.

Contact us for compassionate advice on Virginia separation or divorce

Are you seeking a divorce or separation in Norfolk? Do you have questions about separation or divorce in Chesapeake? Please schedule a confidential consultation by calling me at 757-340-5800 or contacting me online. Located in Virginia Beach, I am experienced at all aspects of divorce and separation in Norfolk and Chesapeake and can advise you on the options available for your unique situation.