Lynchburg Attorney Handles Separation Issues for Spouses
Virginia firm assists clients who wish to live apart from their husband or wife
Some couples no longer wish to live together but want to remain legally married for financial, religious or other reasons. Unlike some states, Virginia law does not use the term “legal separation,” but spouses who reside in different homes frequently wish to establish a legal framework for this new chapter in their relationship. Depending on the circumstances, an agreement between the parties or a “divorce from bed and board” might be the right solution. Located in Lynchburg, The Bice Law Group represents Virginia clients in matters relating to custody, separate maintenance, property allocation and child support. Whether you’re considering separation as a possible precursor to divorce or have no intention to dissolve your marriage, I will provide knowledgeable, compassionate guidance.
How does a divorce from bed and board work in Virginia?
In a situation where one party is alleging that the other has committed certain types of marital misconduct, a divorce from bed and board allows the victimized spouse to pursue immediate legal measures to protect their interests. For example, a spouse can separate their property and seek maintenance payments while remaining legally married. However, this type of proceeding is only available if the filing spouse has a reasonable apprehension of bodily harm or the non-filing spouse has willfully abandoned the marriage.
What are the potential advantages of separation?
Though many spouses seek an absolute divorce once they go their separate ways, there are reasons why some might wish to remain legally wed. Some husbands and wives believe that divorce violates their religious principles, while others rely on their partner for insurance coverage or financial support. You might also believe that reconciliation is possible so you want to avoid breaking the legal bond in case you patch things up.
What is included in a separation agreement?
Like divorce orders, separation agreements can cover a range of parenting and financial issues. When one of the parties earns all or most of the household income, provisions for separate maintenance might be warranted. These payments are similar to spousal support that might be ordered in a divorce. Parents should take great care in working out custody, visitation and child support terms for the period during which they will be living in separate residences. While separated spouses can remain on each other’s insurance policies and maintain other financial ties, it is usually wise to set clear terms regarding access to jointly held accounts and ownership of other marital property.
How long will a separation last in Virginia?
Once you have established a separation agreement or received a divorce from bed and board, it remains in effect unless you seek a change. In the event that you and your spouse decide to resume living together as a married couple, these arrangements can be revoked.
Seeking a divorce after a period of separation
Whether you’ve executed a settlement agreement or received a divorce from bed and board, you might wish at some point to obtain an absolute divorce. In many cases, the terms that are used in the order or agreement can be incorporated into the final dissolution of marriage order. Childless couples who have lived apart under a separation agreement for six continuous months can file for a no-fault divorce. For others, the wait is one year.
Contact a thorough Lynchburg lawyer for a free consultation relating to legal separation
The Bice Law Group advises Virginia spouses on the legal separation process and other family law concerns. To make an appointment for a free consultation, please call (434) 528-1500 or contact me online. My office is located in Lynchburg.