Understanding Divorce Law in Roanoke, Virginia

Divorce is a complex and emotionally challenging process that most people hope to avoid. However, when all attempts to preserve a marriage fail, it is important to have a comprehensive understanding of divorce law in Roanoke, Virginia. Whether you are contemplating or currently going through a divorce, it is crucial to be well-informed about the legal framework that governs this process. This article aims to provide an overview of key aspects of divorce law in Roanoke, including grounds for divorce, property division, child custody, and alimony.

1. Grounds for Divorce in Roanoke, Virginia

In Roanoke, divorces can be classified as “fault” or “no-fault.” A no-fault divorce is based on the no-fault ground of separation, which requires the parties to have lived separate and apart for a period of at least six months, with no hope or intention of reconciliation. On the other hand, a fault-based divorce can be sought on grounds such as adultery, cruelty, desertion, or felony conviction. It is important to consult the Virginia Code (§ 20-91) for a comprehensive understanding of these grounds for divorce.

2. Property Division in Roanoke, Virginia

Virginia is an equitable distribution state, meaning that marital property is divided fairly but not necessarily equally between the parties. Marital property refers to assets and debts acquired during the course of the marriage, excluding any separate property. Separate property includes assets acquired prior to the marriage, inheritances, gifts, and personal injury awards. In determining an equitable distribution, the court considers various factors such as the duration of the marriage, contributions of each party, and the financial circumstances of both parties, among others (Virginia Code § 20-107.3).

3. Child Custody and Visitation in Roanoke, Virginia

When it comes to child custody matters, the best interests of the child are of paramount importance in Roanoke, Virginia. The court may award joint or sole custody, taking into account factors like the child’s age, physical and mental health, relationship with each parent, and their ability to meet the child’s needs (Virginia Code § 20-124.2). It is crucial to understand that Virginia law prefers shared custody arrangements that allow both parents to have a meaningful relationship with their children, unless it is determined that such an arrangement would not be in the child’s best interests. Visitation rights are generally established for the noncustodial parent and can be structured in a way that promotes the child’s welfare and maintains a healthy parent-child relationship.

4. Alimony in Roanoke, Virginia

Alimony, also known as spousal support, is often a contentious issue in divorces. In Roanoke, Virginia, alimony may be awarded based on factors such as the duration of the marriage, earning capacity of each spouse, their respective contributions, and the standard of living established during the marriage (Virginia Code § 20-107.1). It is important to note that alimony is not automatically granted in every case, and the court has the discretion to determine the amount and duration of alimony payments based on the specific circumstances of the parties involved.


Navigating the complexities of divorce law in Roanoke, Virginia, can be overwhelming, especially during an emotionally challenging time. This article has provided a brief overview of key aspects of divorce law, including grounds for divorce, property division, child custody, and alimony. However, divorce laws are intricate and subject to interpretation, making it advisable to seek professional legal advice specific to your situation. Consulting with an experienced divorce attorney, well-versed in Virginia family law, will provide you with the guidance and support needed to navigate the divorce process successfully.