We get this question a lot and the answer is pretty simple. In Virginia, there is no such thing as a legal separation. One person in the marriage simply decides they want to be separated and in the court’s eyes, you are separated. There is no filing of paperwork, no procedures to follow, basically, nothing needs to happen “legally” to become separated in Virginia.
If you do decide to separate, however, you can’t go on acting like nothing has changed. You have to change your behavior and sometimes this can be tricky. While you can technically still live together, you must no longer act as husband and wife. (Read more about in-home separation) This means no more doing each other’s laundry, cooking for each other, and yes, this also means no more sex.
But, do I need an attorney to separate from my spouse?
The typical answer is no. Because there is nothing legal that needs to happen just yet, you don’t need to see a lawyer. Will talking to a lawyer make you feel a little better? Probably. It can help to answer some questions about the “unknown,” but it isn’t 100% necessary. You need to decide what is best for you and sometimes, information can help. If you have questions about the separation period, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help set you up with a consultation to discuss the specifics of your separation.
For immediate information, check out our blog posts about Divorce.