A separation is simply a ceasing of cohabitation as husband and wife. In Virginia, there is not a legal classification of a separation, it is just rather a situation in which the parties are not functioning as a marital couple any longer. Divorce is considered the actual dissolution of the legal marital relationship.
Because there is no such thing as a legal separation, the role of a lawyer would be first, to ensure that the parties are doing the appropriate actions to establish that they are in fact separated. Secondarily, an experienced divorce lawyer would be able to assist in resolving issues of custody, visitation, and child support for families that have minor children.
Requirements for a Separation
There are not any clear cut rules about official requirements for separation, and when trying to make sure that an individual has established the separation, they need to do is look at a number of different factors that the court will consider in deciding whether parties are separated. Those factors include whether both individuals are living together, although both can be separated under the same roof, whether the parties present themselves to the outside world as a couple, and whether both share household responsibilities such as cooking and cleaning for each other.
An individual does not have to prove every one of the considerations, but the court will look at them in order to establish the separation and it is a good idea to speak with an attorney who is experienced in a variety of cases to learn what these various factors are to ensure that a person is complying with as many of them as possible.
Effects of Separation
If a person is separated, that person has the ability still to file as married, whether they file jointly married or married but filing separately. This is the same even if a person was not separated, as a person could still file separate tax returns prior to the separation.
When it comes to children’s best interest through a separation, it will depend on whether or not the separation is occurring in the same home or outside of the home. When two parties are living in two separate physical location then what needs to happen is some sort of arrangement being made between the parties regarding when the children are going to see each parent. If the parties are unable to resolve the custodial schedule between them by an agreement, they have the ability to go the court and file a request for their custody determination, even if there is no divorce case yet filed.
Process for a Divorce
The first step in the process of divorce is one individual filing their complaint for a divorce and then there are a number of different grounds in Virginia that a person can use as a basis for their case. The most commonly used grounds for divorce is the one-year separation, saying that the parties to the case have been separated without getting back together or reconciling for a period and excess of one year. Then in order to start the case, a person would file a complaint for a divorce.