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Virginia Military Divorce: A Comprehensive Guide

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By Author: Lucy
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Divorce can be a complex and emotionally challenging process, and when it involves military service members, there are additional considerations to keep in mind. Virginia, a state with a significant military presence, has specific laws and regulations regarding military divorce. This article provides a comprehensive guide to help you understand the intricacies of military divorce in Virginia.

Residency Requirements:

To file for military divorce in Virginia, either you or your spouse must be a resident of the state for at least six months before filing. However, for military members stationed in Virginia, the residency requirement can be waived if they have been stationed in the state for at least six months.

Grounds for Divorce:

Virginia offers both fault-based and no-fault divorce options. No-fault divorce is the most common, allowing couples to divorce without having to prove wrongdoing. A separation period of one year (six months if there are no children and a separation agreement is in place) is required for a no-fault divorce. Fault-based grounds, such as adultery, ...
... cruelty, or desertion, can expedite the divorce process.

Property Division:

Virginia follows the principle of equitable distribution, meaning that marital property is divided fairly but not necessarily equally. Marital property includes assets and debts acquired during the marriage. It’s important to note that military pensions and benefits are subject to division as well.

Child Custody and Support:

When it comes to child custody in military divorces, the court will prioritize the best interests of the child. The Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act provides guidelines for military parents facing deployment. Child support is determined based on specific guidelines, taking into account the income of both parents and the child’s needs.

Filing for Divorce:

To begin the divorce process, you or your spouse must file a Complaint for Divorce with the appropriate Virginia Circuit Court. The court will then serve the other party with a copy of the complaint and provide them an opportunity to respond.

Negotiation and Mediation:

During the divorce process, negotiation and mediation can be helpful in resolving issues such as property division, child custody, and support. It’s essential to consider the unique circumstances of military families, including deployment and relocation, when reaching agreements.

Divorce Trial and Final Decree:

If an agreement cannot be reached through negotiation or mediation, the case will proceed to trial. The court will consider evidence and make decisions on unresolved issues. Once the court issues a final decree of divorce, the marriage is legally dissolved.

Seeking Professional Support:

Navigating a military divorce in Virginia can be overwhelming, so it’s important to seek professional legal guidance. An experienced family law attorney specializing in military divorce can provide the necessary expertise and support. Additionally, consider seeking emotional support from friends, family, or counseling services to help you navigate the emotional challenges that often accompany divorce.


Getting a military divorce in Virginia involves understanding the state’s residency requirements, grounds for divorce, property division, child custody and support, filing procedures, negotiation and mediation options, and the divorce trial process. By educating yourself about the legal requirements and seeking professional guidance when needed, you can navigate the complexities of military divorce and work towards a fair and amicable resolution. Remember, you don’t have to face this challenging time alone, and support is available to help you through the process.


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