What constitutes cruelty in a Virginia divorce?

Going through a Virginia divorce isn't pretty. When a marriage is falling apart, the couple often says and does things that are less than friendly.

One or both parties may be so emotionally worked up and hurt by the situation that they feel they are being subjected to unbearable cruelty. In Virginia, cruelty is recognized as grounds for a fault-based divorce, but there are specific criteria that define this type of cruelty.

While the attitudes and behaviors that pass between two spouses during the marital breakdown might be unpleasant, they don't always fall under the umbrella of legal cruelty.

Cruelty As Grounds for Divorce

Cruelty as grounds for divorce generally has to include some form of violence or threat of physical violence.

Mental cruelty can be included in the assessment of whether abusive conditions exist in a marriage, but is not usually considered as grounds for divorce in and of itself.

Cruelty is generally something that happens consistently over a period of time; one or two incidents usually do not constitute cruelty unless they were so extreme that the court finds them shocking.

If you want to obtain a Virginia divorce on the grounds of cruelty, you will need proof.

Proof can include police reports detailing violent episodes, medical records that prove injuries, and recordings of your spouse's verbally abusive behavior.

Virginia courts take cruelty charges seriously. If cruelty has led you to seek a divorce from your spouse, you should seek the counsel of a Virginia divorce attorney as soon as possible.

No matter what has led to your divorce, you'll naturally have a lot of questions specific to your circumstances. Get your questions answered by requesting a FREE copy of our guide, What Every Virginia Woman Should Know About Divorce, or reserving your seat at our monthly divorce seminar – 757-425-5200.

The Virginia divorce attorneys at Hofheimer Family Law Firm are committed to fighting for your rights and helping you to move on from a painful situation while advocating for the spousal support, child support and child custody arrangements that you deserve.