divorce in VirgniaWhile some couples are able to work together in divorce proceedings, divorce can turn some once loving spouses into bitter enemies. No matter how wonderful you once thought your spouse was, the unfortunate truth is that he or she may try to take advantage of you in the divorce process to get the better deal in the divorce settlement. If you believe divorce may be in your future, there are certain steps you can take to protect yourself and your interests.

Examine your finances–Take a close look at what you earn, what your spouse earns, and both of your earning potential for the future. Make sure the earnings match up with the amounts in the bank accounts to ensure your spouse is not hiding any assets from you. Learn all about the family debts and try to pay off as much as possible as soon as possible. Check your credit score and start saving money of your own.

Make a list of your possessions–Take inventory of any valuable or meaningful possessions, such as jewelry, furniture, collectibles, and more. Take photographs if possible, and pay attention to see if anything disappears.

Make copies of important documents–Gather important documents and make sure you have your own copy of anything, just in case your spouse tries to withhold any information. This should include financial statements, business statements if either of you are self-employed, insurance policies, wills, mortgage and automobile titles and documents, and more.

Contact a Virginia family law attorney today

Though admitting that you are likely getting divorced is difficult for many, it is best to prepare as much as possible so that your interests are best protected when the divorce is actually filed. Many spouses may attempt to deceive the other in order to emerge from the divorce with a better deal, but if you take some of the above steps, you will help your attorney be able to expose your spouse’s falsifications. If you believe divorce or even separation may be on the horizon for you, call experienced Virginia divorce lawyer Raymond B. Benzinger at (703) 312-0410 as soon as possible for help.

divorce thoughtsA Virginia court will not simply grant a divorce because two people ask for one.  Divorce is a permanent and drastic measure for a married couple, one which courts do not consider lightly.  Therefore, when you petition a court in Virginia for a divorce, you must give a reason.  These reasons are called “grounds.”  The acceptable grounds for divorce vary from state to state, so you should always consult with a family law attorney familiar with Virginia law if you plan to file for divorce in Virginia.  Furthermore, you cannot simply make up grounds for divorce and expect the court to believe you, because the court will require you to provide evidence of the grounds you stated.

Virginia divorce law sets out the following possible grounds for divorce:

Voluntary separation—This is the ground for a “no-fault” divorce, meaning one spouse is not blaming the other’s actions for the failure of the marriage.  When two people have voluntarily lived apart continuously for one year, they have satisfied grounds for a no-fault divorce.

Adultery—In Virginia, one spouse must actually have sexual intercourse with another person outside the marriage to be an adulterer, as other sexual acts do not qualify as adultery or grounds for a divorce.

Cruelty—In order to be adequate grounds for divorce, cruelty generally must endanger a spouse, render continuing to cohabitate unsafe, or cause bodily harm.  Cruelty can also include abusive language, insults, and other verbal behaviors that endanger mental and emotional health.

Desertion—There are two types of desertion: actual and constructive.  Actual desertion means one spouse packed their bags and left.  Constructive desertion means that one spouse “leaves” the relationship, but not necessarily the shared home, and causes the divorce-seeking spouse to move out.  This can include cruel behavior, prolonged willful refusal of sex, or other destruction of the home life.

Felony Conviction—This qualifies when one spouse is convicted of a felony, is incarcerated for at least one year, and the other spouse does not voluntarily resume cohabitation afterward.

Proving grounds is necessary for the court to grant your divorce.  If you are seeking a divorce, always contact family law attorney Raymond B. Benzinger for help with your case.


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