Husband argued that wife’s conciliatory statements and activities subsequent to July 14, 2014, show that wife did not
continuously maintain the intent to permanently separate after that date. Husband further contends that the trial court erred in relying on the July 2014 separation date when determining its equitable distribution award and spousal support award. Addressing husband’s argument requires this Court to resolve an issue of first impression in Virginia: whether a party who
intends to separate permanently at the commencement of the statutory separation period for a no-fault divorce must—to preserve the separation date—continuously maintain the intent to separate permanently throughout the separation period.
As a matter of first impression, the Virginia Court of Appeals held that a party seeking a no‑fault divorce under Code § 20-91(A)(9) is not required to show that either party continuously maintained, throughout the statutory period, an intent to separate permanently. The statutory intent requirement under Code § 20-91(A)(9) is satisfied when, at the commencement of the statutory separation period, a party has the intent to separate permanently. Therefore, the trial court did not err in finding that the parties’ separation date was July 14, 2014, and not December of 2018.
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