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Do you qualify for divorce under the 4 legal grounds in Virginia?

Unhappy spouses in most states can file no-fault divorces. All they need to do is make a statement in court claiming that their marriage has become an unhealthy and unsustainable relationship to dissolve their marriage.

No-fault divorces tend to be faster and may reduce the bad blood between former spouses, especially in an uncontested filing. Unfortunately, not every state allows no-fault divorce filings. Virginia has a grounds-based divorce system.

Your marriage circumstances will need to meet the requirements set to qualify under one of the four grounds for divorce permitted by Virginia family law.

Imprisonment for a felony

Few things will disrupt your marital relationship as quickly and completely as the incarceration of your spouse. If one spouse pleads guilty or gets convicted of a felony offense after the marriage and faces at least a year of incarceration as a result, their spouse could file for divorce based on grounds of their felony conviction and imprisonment.


Cheating has always been a leading cause for marital relationships breaking down. If one spouse discovers that the other has been unfaithful, they have grounds to file for divorce.

However, to qualify for an adultery-based divorce, the spouses to have to cease living together. The spouse who discovers the adulterous affair has to file for divorce within five years of that discovery or potentially lose their right to file.


If one spouse consistently mistreats the other, the spouse suffering abuse in the marriage can file for a divorce based on cruelty. Typically, the spouse claiming cruelty will need evidence either that their spouse physically harmed them or abandoned them.

As with adultery, there is a statute of limitations for cruelty claims. The person filing has only one year after a cruel experience to file for divorce.


If the spouses have begun living in separate houses or keeping separate rooms in the same home and they have not been physically intimate for an extended period of time, that may justify a divorce filing based on their separation. Separation-based divorce is the closest thing Virginia offers to a no-fault divorce.

Recognizing when your circumstances meet the criteria for a divorce in Virginia can help you move on from an unhealthy marriage.