Many feelings surface while going through a divorce. You may feel alone, confused, lost and in dire need of someone to just listen to you. If you’re a Virginia resident facing an inevitable divorce, you might wonder when the state will grant you it.
Virginia differs from other states because it offers divorce from bed and board, a type of legal separation that ultimately provides the grounds for a fault divorce. Divorce occurs for many reasons, but there are two specific ones leading to divorce from bed and board.
What two reasons could set the stage for a divorce from bed and board?
The dissolution of your marriage brings up a multitude of emotions, and these feelings might be especially heavy if your divorce comes after being willfully deserted or abandoned by your spouse, or if your spouse caused you great bodily harm. These are the two reasons for divorce from bed and board, which allows you to legally separate from your spouse if they desert you or mistreat you causing physical harm.
What is willful desertion or abandonment?
According to the Virginia State Bar, willful desertion or abandonment occurs if your spouse leaves you without consent and does not pay support. This proves particularly problematic if you rely on your spouse for financial support, or if you have children you cannot afford to care for on your own income. It’s important to note a mutual separation fails to count as desertion or abandonment.
Suffering cruelty at the hands of your spouse is a valid reason to leave them. If you’ve done so, you could still get divorced based on evidence of cruelty causing bodily harm, which also allows divorce from bed and board.
What falls under cruelty and bodily harm?
The Virginia State Bar defines cruelty as physical abuse by your spouse which causes you bodily harm and renders living with them unsafe. However, it only considers acts of threats of violence resulting in physical injury and does not account for verbal abuse.
After a year of legal separation due to abandonment or cruelty, divorce from bed and board is possible. The dissolution of your marriage is a tough subject all around, so you may want to seek additional guidance from a compassionate listener to help you navigate the divorce process and protect your safety.