What does it mean in legal terms to get divorced?

A divorce is a method of dissolving the legal contract that binds a couple together in marriage. The couple must have “grounds” or legal reasons that allow the court to grant a divorce. To get a divorce in Virginia, one of the following must be shown: 

  1. Sexual intercourse or sodomy with someone outside the marriage; 
  2. Conviction of a felony by the spouse;
  3. Willful desertion or abandonment;
  4. Cruelty or the infliction of reasonable apprehension of bodily harm; or
  5. The couple has lived separate and apart for one year with the intent to get a divorce, or six months if there are no minor children and the couple has a written settlement agreement.

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