Legal Professionals of Hirsch & Ehlenberger

What are the 4 fault-based grounds for a Virginia divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 6, 2022 | Divorce

Most of the time, people divorce in Virginia using the no-fault process. By attesting to the courts that their relationship has broken down, one spouse can get a divorce without proving anything.

However, some people still pursue fault-based divorces. They may belong to a religion that frowns on marital dissolution or may simply want to prove that they did not cause the end of their marriage. Virginia does still allow people to file fault-based divorces.

What are the grounds available to someone who wants to divorce for a specific reason?


Adultery remains one of the more common reasons that people end their marriages. Spouses may want a fault-based divorce so that they can conclusively prove that they were not the unfaithful one or to obtain compensation from a marital agreement with a penalty clause for infidelity.

Cruelty or abuse

If one spouse is physically aggressive or mentally abusive toward the other, their conduct can provide grounds for a divorce. Typically, some kind of corroborating evidence is necessary, whether someone has police reports or medical records of injuries they suffered.


If one spouse just packs up and leaves, stops communicating with their spouse and fails to support the household, they have abandoned the family. Abandonment is grounds for divorce in Virginia, and the spouse left behind can file for divorce after a year.

Felony convictions

If someone gets convicted of a felony after their marriage, their spouse can use their incarceration for that offense as grounds for filing a divorce.

Barring one of these scenarios, someone hoping to divorce in Virginia will likely need to pursue a no-fault filing. Learning the basics about the divorce process in Virginia can help you choose the right path forward.



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