How Long Do I Need To Be Separated To Get A Divorce In Virginia?

by James Garrett on March 30, 2013

Many people contact us and want a “quickie divorce”. In Virginia, the only way to get a divorce without a period of separation is to file for a divorce based on adultery. In all other cases, the parties must be separated for a specific period of time (usually 12 months) before a divorce can be granted, even in cases where there are no minor children or property/debt issues.


If the parties do not have minor children, the law requires at least a 6-month separation period and a written separation agreement. If the parties are unable to agree on the terms of a separation agreement, they must wait 12-months before a divorce may be granted. This is the same period that all other divorce filings must wait as well.

Many people confuse the waiting period for a divorce being granted and the time they are permitted to file for divorce. A divorce may be filed at any time so long as there are grounds supporting the divorce. If there is an allegation of physical abuse, for example, a divorce may be filed on that ground immediately; however, the court may not enter a final divorce decree until there has been a separation period of 12-months.

Finally, there is no requirement in Virginia that a party must have a written separation agreement. Either party may file for a divorce simply based on the fact of having lived separate and apart for a period of at least 12-months. This is Virginia’s version of a no-fault divorce.

If you have questions regarding drafting a separation agreement or filing for divorce in Virginia Beach, please contact our family law attorneys today to answer your questions. (757) 422-0195.

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