Contested Divorce in VAContested Divorce in VA

A couple goes through a contested divorce process when they are unable to agree on one or more issues regarding divorce (eg.: Child Custody and Support, Spousal Support, Division of Property). In this scenario, either the husband or the wife will file a divorce case based upon one of Virginia’s fault grounds or one year (1) year separation and ask the Court/Judge to make a decision regarding any issues they cannot agree upon.

Fault Grounds for Divorce:

Adultery, Sodomy, Buggery: In Virginia courts, adultery has to be proved by “clear and convincing” evidence.

Cruelty and Reasonable Apprehension of Bodily Harm: This fault ground requires a party asserting it to prove physical or extreme emotional harm by the other party.

Willful Desertion or Abandonment: When one spouse unjustifiably and willingly leaves the marriage without the consent of the other spouse. This fault grounds also includes “constructive desertion”.

Incarceration for felony of more than a year.

Going through a contested divorce can be a long, complex and stressful process which will include the following:

  • Preparing, filing and serving the divorce complaint (a petition for divorce stating the grounds for the breakdown of marriage and facts of the case surrounding those fault/no-fault grounds).
  • Preparing and filing answer and counterclaim to the divorce complaint.
  • Engaging in the “discovery” process – a process prescribed by the courts to allow parties to gather information regarding the other party/spouse and from third parties which they may need for a trial.
    • Discovery includes sending out interrogatories, request to produce, request for admissions, deposition, subpoenas, etc.
  • pre-trial legal motions and hearings.
  • Sending settlement proposals, counter-proposals and negotiations between attorneys/parties.
  • Parties may also choose to engage a mediator to see if they can settle the case through mediation.
  • if settlement fails, preparing for trial.
  • Appealing a trial verdict if a party has grounds for appeal

Contested divorces can be complex and maneuvering your way through the legal system can be stressful. Therefore, before you begin your legal journey, you should definitely speak with an experienced divorce lawyer who can provide you with information about your rights, the legal divorce process and provide effective, skilled and efficient representation.

At Khanna Law, we successfully help our clients navigate the complicated contested divorce process on a regular basis. We pride ourselves in guiding you, protecting your rights and providing dedicated, intelligent and reliable representation.

To schedule a consultation regarding your divorce case, call 571-766-6860 or email us at