No-Fault Divorce Separation Waiting Period and Living Under the Same Roof

A common question asked during an initial consultation is, “How soon can I file for divorce?” I imagine most clients asking this question want to hear that filing for their divorce will occur relatively quickly; they are ready to get the process underway. The answer to this question, in part, depends on the basis, or grounds, of the client’s divorce. A no-fault divorce is based on the parties having lived separate and apart, with the intent that there will be no reconciliation, for either six or twelve months. Virginia Code § 20-91(A)(9). Notice the past tense was used in that explanation. The parties must have already been separated for either six or twelve months prior to filing for the no-fault divorce. If the couple does not have any minor children and they have entered into a property settlement agreement, they may file for divorce after having been separated for six months. The twelve month separation period applies if there are minor children involved. However no separation agreement is required if the twelve month separation period applies.

Spouses are many times separated but still living under the same roof. This is not unusual, especially in Northern Virginia, where the cost of living is very high and often spouses cannot afford to move out right away. Judges understand this economic predicament, and spouses can still be separated and live in the same house; however, they must be very careful how they do so. Seemingly minor details, such as mealtimes and who does the laundry, may be determining factors in whether a judge will agree that the spouses have in fact been living separate. If you find yourself in this type of situation, you will want to structure your living situation to mirror a separate residence for yourself. Doing so will ensure that once the separation waiting period is over, the no-fault divorce may be filed with confidence that the parties will be able to proceed. The attorneys at Keithley Law, PLLC can help you understand the no-fault divorce waiting period for filing, and help guide you through a separation while still living in the same residence as your spouse.

Fairfax Family Law Lawyer; Virginia Divorce Lawyer: If you’re looking for an experienced Virginia divorce lawyer or Fairfax family law attorney, contact Keithley Law, PLLC today by calling (703) 454-5147 and schedule an initial consultation in our Fairfax law office.

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