Can we still be separated if we are living in the same house?

A Virginia divorce requires a period of legal separation for the divorce to be considered valid for settlement. In many cases, living completely separate may be difficult or impossible for a couple because of financial reasons or child custody worries.

While the most clear-cut approach to fulfilling your required period of separation is to simply live in separate residences, you may still be able to fulfill your legal obligation through an "in-home separation." If you choose to go this route, there are guidelines we have found that make the "separation" appear more favorable in the eyes of a Virginia judge:

  • Use separate bedrooms and do not engage in romantic or sexual intimacy;
  • Do your own grocery shopping, prepare your own food, and do not eat meals together;
  • Care for your own space and necessities within the house;
  • Have separate telephones, computers and checking accounts;
  • Do not attend social events together and make clear to friends and family you are living separate from your spouse;
  • If minor children are involved, interact as parents strictly when necessary for the child's well being; and
  • Have an objective third party observe the separate living situations at your home so they can later testify to your in-home separation.

In your Virginia divorce case, be prepared to explain the details of how you were able to continue living under the same roof while still achieving a legally permissible in-home separation. Your friends and family, as well as the objective third party, may be questioned as to the success of the in-home separation. You may also be asked to provide reasoning as to why it was necessary to remain under the same roof during your Virginia separation.

There are very specific rules governing Virginia divorce and in-home separation in Virginia. At Hofheimer Family Law Firm we are committed to providing you with the experience and compassion you deserve and the successful results you need to move on with your life. Request a FREE copy of our guide, What Every Virginia Woman Should Know About Divorce, or reserve your seat at our monthly divorce seminar – 757-425-5200.