Adultery, Desertion, and Cruelty: Your Virginia Divorce Questions Answered

DiPietro Law Group, PLLC

Q: If your Virginia divorce is uncontested, do you have to attend a court hearing or a deposition in court?

Not necessarily. A new law that went to effect in July 2012 allows divorcing couples to deliver their testimony via written affidavit, instead of at a public hearing. This process can be convenient and appropriate for certain cases, but each divorce needs to be evaluated independently. You may want (or need) to go to court, even if the divorce is uncontested.

Q: What happens if your spouse is in jail? Can you still obtain a divorce?

Virginia law says yes. However, the situation can become complicated. If the jailed spouse will be incarcerated for a year or more — or has been convicted of a felony — the court may appoint someone called a Guardian Ad Litem to represent that person’s interests.

Q: What do you need to do to prove adultery?

In most cases, all you will have is circumstantial evidence. In other words, you do not need to produce a picture of your spouse engaged in a romantic act with another person. However, the court will not grant you a divorce based on circumstances that are strongly suspicious; you must have clear and convincing evidence of adultery; i.e. all the circumstantial evidence adds up to clear proof. There are certain types of evidence that courts have accepted in the past as proof of adultery. Your attorney at DiPietro DiPietro Family Law Group, PLLC can make sure you are full informed.

Q: What do you need to prove desertion?

The burden of proof for desertion is not as high as adultery. That does not necessarily mean it is easier to obtain a divorce this way. Every case is different and highly fact-driven. One of the elements of desertion is an intent in the mind of the deserting spouse to abandon or desert the marriage. This can be difficult to prove. Your attorney at DiPietro Family Law Group, PLLC will know how to present the evidence in a manner to give you the greatest chances for success.

Q: Cruelty is another fault ground – How do I prove it?

Cruelty is usually associated with extremely harsh conduct. It can be one act of serious physical violence or repeated acts of moderate or serious physical violence. Emotional abuse can sometimes qualify as cruelty too. Name-calling and other forms of bad behavior are usually not enough. Just because the bad behavior does not add up to cruelty does not mean it does not constitute another ground for divorce. Your attorney at DiPietro Family Law Group, PLLC can walk you through the process.

If you need assistance now with your Fairfax Virginia divorce, call our team at DiPietro Law Group, PLLC right now for a consultation at (888) 530-4374.


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