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.