Virginia legal separation and dating

Often clients will ask how to file for “Legal Separation” in Virginia.The quick answer to that question is: you can’t really.Legal separation can mean different things in different states, so it should come as no surprise that the laws regarding dating after legal separation are also somewhat inconsistent.To further complicate matters, the Uniform Code of Military Justice has its own laws regarding adultery among members of the United States military.Some states, such as New Jersey, call this a divorce from bed and board.However, spouses are still legally married when they separate by this method. Adultery requires that sexual contact exists between a married individual and someone other than his spouse.Some states consider a couple legally separated when they have signed a separation or marital settlement agreement and relocated to separate homes.

While Virginia allows you to file with the court to address a number of issues without filing for divorce, the process for doing so is not as simple as filing for “Legal Separation.”If you are anticipating separating from your spouse, and ultimately being divorced – then you really just need to file for divorce.A separation agreement is an enforceable contract between spouses that covers the terms and conditions of the separation including the division of assets and liabilities, spousal and child support, and visitation.In the event of a divorce, a West Virginia judge incorporates the terms of the agreement into a divorce decree, provided that it is fair and reasonable to both spouses.Couples who wish to divorce at a later date (but are not in a hurry) can simply separate for a year.If they have a separation agreement in place, it controls the terms of the breakup.