In your divorce, every choice you make should further your ultimate goal. What's your ultimate goal? Well, that's different for every woman, but in most cases, the goal is to retain as much of the marital assets as possible.
In a divorce, unlike in a personal injury case, all you have to divide is what already existed in the marriage. And that's before you take out the cost of hiring an attorney.
Say what you want about attorneys, but in most cases we don't have that much control over how much the divorce actually costs. Most of what we charge, from our hourly rates to our typical retainers, are relatively standard across the locality.
A lot of women get caught up in the lure of a fault-based divorce. I can understand the appeal; it's much more attractive to see yourself as getting divorced as a direct result of some bad act of his, rather than by just claiming "no fault." After all, he has certainly done some very, very bad things, and it would be nice to have that acknowledged. Right? Of course!
But what does a fault-based divorce do for you? The truth is that it really doesn't make much difference in the overall outcome. Under Virginia's property distribution statute, the judge CAN use one party's negative nonmonetary contributions to warrant awarding a disproportionate share of the assets to one party, but it's probably unlikely.
You should keep this in mind as you start to plan what you want to get out of your divorce. Fault based divorces, even though it may sound better than a no fault divorce, typically cost more money and yield fewer results.