Whether for financial reasons or otherwise, it is often not feasible for divorcing parties to establish completely separate households.  The Virginia courts recognize this situation, and allow for parties to establish a period of separation while continuing to live under the same roof.  There are two (2) qualifications, however, for a “living under the same roof separation”: (1) The following rules must be strictly adhered to; and (2) You must have a third party who can affirm that they have visited you in your home a number of times, and have seen no evidence that you and your spouse have continued to cohabit as husband and wife.  Following these rules will usually assure that you can obtain your uncontested divorce in Virginia, even though you technically are still living together, as roommates.

  • Establishment and maintenance of intent to separate permanently or indefinitely.
  • Separate bedrooms.
  • No romantic or sexual intimacy.
  • Stop wearing wedding rings.
  • Each spouse shops for own food, prepares own meals; neither shops for the other as to any categories of items (clothing, other necessities, etc.).
  • Do not use the other spouse’s food or other purchases.
  • Do not eat meals together (exception:  holidays or children’s birthdays).
  • Each spouse is responsible for caring for his or her own space within the home, such as bedroom.
  • Each does own laundry.
  • Establish separate checking accounts.
  • Cease socializing (e.g., do not attend parties, movies, theater, etc., together).
  • Do not attend church together.
  • Where there are minor children, interact as parents only where strictly necessary from the children’s perspective and their well-being; e.g., it would  be acceptable for the parents to go together to a meeting with a school official relative to problems confronting a particular child, but less appropriate for the parents to ride together and sit together at a child’s school play or soccer game.
  • Cease gift-giving between spouses for such occasions as birthdays, Christmas, anniversary, Valentine’s Day, etc.
  • Make known to close associates, relatives, etc., that the parties are maritally separated within the residence, though continuing to reside under the same roof.
  • Have a third party come to the home from time to time to personally observe the two spouses’ separate and distinct living quarters (bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.).
  • Utilize separate entrances to residence if feasible.  
  • Be prepared to explain reason(s) for effecting separation under same roof (e.g., financial considerations; unavailability of successor residence; to ease children’s transition to parent’s separation; etc.).