But there could be consequences in the divorce case. If your spouse wants to, he can use your choice to date before your marriage is dissolved to obtain a fault divorce. Even if he doesn't go that far, the fact that you are dating during your marriage paints you as someone of questionable morals, which may impact custody, alimony or visitation issues.
If you negotiate a settlement agreement, be sure to talk to your attorney about including a clause that each spouse has the right to date others during the separation. That could stop your spouse from turning it against you. Technically, if your dating leads to an affair, you've committed the crime of adultery. It's an open question whether that law is constitutional, but you probably could live your life perfectly well without being the test case on that.
Establishing a Date of Separation in Virginia
Berkeley's law school, Teo Spengler is up on education. She splits her home time between San Francisco and France. Pinpointing the precise moment may not be as obvious, say, as knowing the exact date of the next complete solar eclipse as of this writing, August 21, A marriage may erode; trust may falter; a spouse may be unfaithful but the other spouse not notice right away. If your marriage does not come to a crashing close, like the final act of an opera, you may not even understand the legal importance of the date of separation.
Or, you may acknowledge it but lose track amid the fear, frustration, anger and resentment marking your days. In Virginia, the date of separation marks the beginning of the divorce countdown.
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According to the Code of Virginia if you are a frequent reader of these writings, you know how we love to quote the Code of Virginia , you can file for divorce one year after separation if you have kids or six months if you have no kids. Some action must trigger the start of that countdown clock, though.
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Several events qualify as dates of separation. The easiest one to enshrine legally is a property settlement agreement or separation agreement, because in it the two of you sign that you were legally separated since X date.
The date of separation becomes trickier to determine if one of you cannot afford to vacate the marital home, or feels honor-bound to remain for the good of your children. The goal of separation is to prove to the court that you no longer are or act as a married couple.
So, during an in-home separation you must live your life as though you are sharing a space with a roommate.
It is critical that you maintain separate bedrooms, that you have no romantic relations, and that you not present yourself in public as a married couple e. You should also let family members and close friends know you are living separately in the same house. If you and your spouse decide to separate under the same roof, you should let friends and family members know.
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You will also need another individual to verify your in-home separation to the Court. This person can be a relative, friend, neighbor, nanny, co-worker, or even an adult child. However, this person would either have to live in your house during the separation period or visit there frequently — preferably weekly or at least monthly.