Virginia Divorce Cruelty Desertion Constructive

Patsy Anne Eakin Williams v. James Michael Williams
60 Va. Cir. 309
November 5, 2002

At the time of the hearing on the first demurrer, the Court went into great detail and held a lengthy discussion concerning the concept of cruelty as a ground for divorce with both counsel.  Upon the filing of the Amended Bill of Complaint Defendant made an oral demurrer, which the Court accepted, subject to the subsequent filing of a written demurrer and based on the assurance that both parties were ready to argue the second demurrer. The Court sustained the second demurrer and ordered the case to be dismissed.

Plaintiff thereafter filed a Motion for Reconsideration.

The Court held that mental cruelty is not a ground for divorce in Virginia.  Plaintiff’s arguments, both oral and written, that selected language in prior Virginia cases can be construed to allow a cruelty divorce without allegation of, or ultimately proof of, actual or predictable danger to the life, limb, or health of a litigant is without merit.  Denial of sexual intercourse was one of the factors a court would look to as evidence of a withdrawal of the duties of the marital relationship. However, this meant denial of sexual relations by the party alleged to be guilty of desertion, not by the one alleging it.  Desertion and constructive desertion require egregious actions making up the willful breach and neglect of marital duties. They must be such “as to practically destroy home life in every true sense, and to render the marriage state well nigh intolerable and impossible to be endured.  The facts alleged do not rise to this level.  Therefore, the motion for reconsideration had to be denied.


These summaries are provided by the SRIS Law Group.  They represent the firm’s unofficial views of the Justices’ opinions.  The original opinions should be consulted for their authoritative content.


About the Author:
The SRIS Law Group is a law firm with offices in Virginia, Maryland & Massachusetts.  The law firm assists clients with criminal/traffic defense, family law, immigration, civil litigation, bankruptcy & military law.  The law firm has Virginia offices in Fairfax County, Richmond, Virginia Beach, Lynchburg City, Loudoun County, Prince William County & Fredericksburg, Virginia.  The Maryland offices are in Montgomery County & Baltimore.  The Massachusetts offices are in Boston & Cambridge.
Mr. Sriskandarajah is a Virginia lawyer who primarily focuses his practice on defending complex criminal cases in federal and state courts, handling complex divorce cases & immigration cases before the federal courts.  He is the owner and CEO of the SRIS Law Group.  The law firm has more than 11 offices to serve the clients of the SRIS Law Group.  If you wish to contact the SRIS Law Group, please contact us at 888-437-7747.  We look forward to helping you.
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