Winchester Divorce Attorney
Virginia has unique laws when it comes to getting a divorce. Did you know that in some cases you can file for divorce as soon as you have separated, while in other situations you might have to live apart for a year first? What happens in the meantime regarding who gets the kids, and can one party get support from the other so they can afford to live separately? If you have questions like these, Simms Showers LLP has the answers. Our dedicated Winchester divorce attorneys have years of experience helping people like you in Winchester and Frederick County navigate the laws surrounding divorce in Virginia so they are ready to move on in their lives equipped for a brighter future. If you and your spouse are considering divorce in Winchester, or even if just one of you is, call Simms Showers LLP for practical advice and effective assistance throughout the Virginia divorce process.
Types of Divorce in Winchester, Virginia
Virginia law authorizes two different types of divorce cases. One is called a divorce from bed and board. This is similar in some ways to a legal separation in other states that recognize that legal concept. A full divorce is known in Virginia as a divorce from the bond of matrimony. This type of divorce is a complete and absolute divorce. Both kinds of divorce affect the legal rights of the parties, but only a person who has obtained a divorce from the bond of matrimony is legally free to enter into a new marriage with another person.
The Winchester divorce lawyers at Simms Showers LLP can help you obtain either type of divorce, or both, depending on your needs and circumstances. Each form of divorce is discussed below. For more information or to retain the services of a dedicated Winchester divorce attorney, please call our Winchester/Frederick County law office at 540-693-2195.
Divorce From the Bond of Matrimony
A divorce from the bond of matrimony is what most people think of when they think of divorce. This action formally dissolves the marriage so that the couple are no longer married and each can legally marry someone else if they so choose. There are a number of different grounds that would enable the Winchester Circuit Court to grant a divorce from the bond of matrimony. These grounds include adultery, sodomy, conviction of a felony, cruel treatment or abuse, and abandonment or willful desertion. The party alleging one of these grounds must be able to prove the facts establishing the ground for divorce.
Virginia also recognizes a “no-fault” form of divorce, where it is not necessary to prove marital misconduct on the part of the other spouse to obtain a divorce. However, under Virginia law, parties cannot seek a no-fault divorce until they have lived apart for six months or a year, depending on the circumstances. This is where a divorce from bed and board comes in.
Divorce From Bed and Board
A no-fault divorce requires a period of separation before the divorce petition can be filed. If the couple has minor children, they must live separate and apart continuously without cohabitating for at least one year. If they don’t have minor children and have created a separation agreement, then this period can be shortened to six months.
Six months or one year can be a very long time to go without specific and enforceable court orders for a couple living apart. However, Virginia law also allows couples to seek a divorce from bed and board under certain circumstances. Under this limited proceeding, the Winchester Circuit Court judge can put orders in place regarding child custody and child support that the parties can rely on and seek enforcement from the sheriff or court system if necessary.
Grounds for a divorce from bed and board include:
- Willful desertion or abandonment
- Cruelty and reasonable apprehension of bodily harm
When either of these grounds is present, the parties can separate and immediately file for a divorce from bed and board. Once the applicable six-month or one-year period has elapsed, either party can file for a divorce from the bond of matrimony and ask the court to merge or convert the divorce from bed and board into divorce from the bond of matrimony. Typically, the language asking the court to convert a divorce from bed and board to a divorce from the bond of matrimony is put into the initial complaint so it does not need to be re-filed.
Get the Right Kind of Help for Your Winchester Divorce
The Winchester divorce lawyers at Simms Showers LLP are your legal advocates fighting for your rights and an outcome that meets your needs. If you are looking to divorce or have been served with papers from your spouse, we can advise you on the right steps to take to protect yourself and your kids and emerge from divorce ready to embrace the new opportunities ahead of you. For help with divorce in Winchester/Frederick County, call Simms Showers LLP at 540-693-2195.