What does it mean for my spouse and I to be “separated” for the purpose of obtaining a Virginia divorce?

In a Virginia divorce proceeding, separation occurs when a couple ceases to live together as husband and wife with the intent to no longer be married. There is no "legal separation" in Virginia. In other words, separation does not require an agreement between the parties or a written notice. Instead, separation is based on the intent to be separated and the actual physical separation of the spouses. Only one person needs to have the intent to live separate and apart.

In most cases, separation occurs when one spouse moves out of the marital residence. However, under Virginia law it is possible for spouses to be considered separated while they live in the same house, although the evidence needed to prove this requires the expertise of an experienced Virginia family law attorney.