What is desertion?
Desertion is intentionally leaving the marriage with the desire that the separation be permanent, against the wishes of the other spouse. Separation is a crucial part of the Virginia divorce process. However, when one spouse leaves the marital residence with the intent of making the move permanent prior to filing for divorce, that is considered desertion in a Virginia divorce. Desertion is one of the few recognized grounds for a fault-based divorce in Virginia.
To prove desertion in a Virginia divorce the remaining spouse must be able to prove that the other spouse's leaving was against their wishes. They also must show that they did nothing to warrant the other spouse leaving. Essentially, you must be blameless for the other spouse deciding to leave and be able to prove this.
If your spouse tells you they are contemplating leaving, don't agree! If you are considering leaving yourself, do not do so before contacting a Virginia Beach divorce attorney for advice. They will be able to advise you on ways to do so without legal complications. If you are guilty of desertion in a Virginia divorce, this may complicate later decisions regarding custody and property access.
The Virginia Beach divorce attorney team at Hofheimer Family Law Firm represents Virginia women who wish to file for divorce. We are committed to fighting for your rights, assisting in child custody disputes, and ensuring that you receive everything you are entitled to and need in order to start your new life. You can learn more 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.