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Virginia recognizes these grounds for a fault-based divorce

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2024 | Family Law |

In Virginia, couples seeking a divorce may file on fault-based grounds. These grounds require proof of specific reasons for the dissolution of the marriage.

Understanding these grounds is helpful for anyone considering divorce and can impact the legal process and outcome of the proceedings.


A common ground for a fault-based divorce is adultery. If one spouse can prove that the other engaged in extramarital affairs, it may serve as grounds for divorce. Adultery is voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than their spouse. Evidence of such conduct may be necessary to support a fault-based divorce claim.

Cruelty and abuse

Another recognized ground for fault-based divorce is cruelty and abuse. This includes physical or mental cruelty that renders continued cohabitation unsafe or intolerable for the spouse seeking the divorce. Evidence of abuse, such as police reports, medical records or witness testimony, can support a fault-based divorce claim based on cruelty.


Abandonment, or desertion, is also grounds for fault-based divorce. This occurs when one spouse leaves the marital home without justification and without the intent to return. To establish abandonment as grounds for divorce, the deserted spouse must show that the separation was voluntary and without consent.

While these are some of the most common reasons people in Virginia file for fault-based divorces, this is not a complete summary of all possible fault-based grounds. By examining the criteria recognized by state law for fault-based divorces, couples can make informed decisions about their options and the best course of action for their situation.

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