You suck, Virginia

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May 9, 2008 by 8junebugs

First, let me be clear: None of the following applies to the dissolution of my marriage. We are drafting, signing, and notarizing a separation agreement and filing for a no-fault, uncontested divorce in six months. None of the legal grounds for an at-fault divorce apply to us.

That said, doing my homework on Virginia divorce has shown me that I should be wearing pantalettes and bonnets and maybe even paying taxes to a king. This “state” is barely out of the dark ages.

  1. Interracial marriage was illegal in Virginia until 1968. “Interracial” is my term — the Commonwealth of Virginia refers to it as marriage between White and Colored Persons.
  2. It takes less time to get a no-fault divorce (6-12 months, maybe more) than to get one in a cruel and physically abusive relationship (at least 12 months after the date the “cruelty” is proven, and one instance isn’t enough).
  3. Adultery is a bigger offense than cruelty. If you can prove adultery (or sodomy or buggery), you can push a divorce through PDQ.
  4. Virginia considers adultery (and, of course, sodomy and buggery) a bigger problem than a felony conviction. So, if your husband cheats on you, you can divorce him in short order. If the other woman did not consent and the DA can convict him of rape, you’re stuck with him for at least a year. (I suppose that could work the other way around, though. If the rape charge doesn’t stick, perhaps you could escape on grounds of adultery.)
  5. The Commonwealth can annul a marriage. This confuses the heck out of me — I always thought the state could break the legal contract of marriage but a religious body was responsible for the “Poof! It never happened!” decision. Must be my Catholic heritage showing through.

Lord love a duck, this place is ridiculous. I even found a case where there had been a separation agreement in place for years and the wife had filed the divorce complaint, but then the husband was allowed to file a cross-bill alleging adultery. The “adultery” was a relationship that began after the long-term separation and the complaint filing, but the divorce was not yet final and the husband prevailed. In the end, the wife was docked 10% of her share of the assets.

Again…our situation is different. No major assets, no kids, no joint debt, etc. But this is an eye-opening process to say the least.

This may not be the last post on this kind of thing, FYI. I seriously considered law school after undergrad for a reason — my transcript looks like that might have been the plan. This stuff fascinates me. Ultimately, though, law school is an awfully expensive commitment for someone who just likes reading cases and writing opinions.


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