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How can you leave your marriage in Virginia?

On Behalf of | Sep 29, 2022 | Divorce

Virginia has complex divorce laws, and you have to meet some requirements before you even decide to file for divorce. But because divorce is almost always emotionally straining, it’s essential to know the legal paths you can take to leave your marriage. 

Here are three ways you can leave your marriage in Virginia

Legal separation

Before filing for a divorce in Virginia, you must first separate for six months, (often one year when children are involved) to show your intentions to get divorced. However, there’s no formal separation procedure if no one is at fault. Therefore, you and your spouse will have to sign a separation agreement and date the document.  

Sometimes, you can file a motion for lite relief if there is a fault-based reason like adultery, cruelty, or desertion. The court will then grant you legal separation status.


If you wish to dissolve your marriage completely, then you may have to file for divorce. There are two types of divorce in Virginia:

  • Divorce from bed and board: This is a partial divorce granted by the court if there is a fault. However, this doesn’t end your marriage, and you can’t remarry until the separation period is over and you finalize the divorce. 
  • Divorce from the bond of matrimony: If your marriage has fallen apart without fault from either party, you can file for a divorce from the bond of matrimony. But for divorce to be granted, you have to have separated for a year or six months if no minor children are involved.


While divorce dissolves a valid marriage, you can dissolve your marriage by proving it wasn’t valid. However, marriage annulments are only granted if you prove that you entered the marriage because of coercion, duress, or fraud.

Take the right steps before leaving your marriage

Are you unsure about how to leave your marriage? Navigating the turbulent waters of separation and divorce can be an emotional challenge. Start by seeking legal guidance to identify the right steps for your situation.