The law requires that "grounds" (valid reasons for divorce prescribed by law) for divorce must exist and be proven to the court even if the parties agree that a marriage should end. A mere separation by mutual consent will not be considered desertion.
Further, if one spouse leaves because the other has committed acts that legally amount to cruelty, then the spouse who leaves is not guilty of desertion.
While this behavior has been often discussed in the media as something in which teens engage, adults in Virginia need to remember that if they engage in this behavior - even when the image sent digitally is meant to remain between consenting adults - in some situations they could face state or federal criminal charges as a result.
Americans are accustomed to a wide range of privacy protections under the U. Constitution, including protection for some private behavior that involves explicit images.
The media has widely covered a new sexual behavior that has evolved with the proliferation of the Internet and cell phones: sexting.
The Family Law Section of the Virginia State Bar prepared this pamphlet to provide the public with basic answers to some of the fundamental legal questions concerning divorce and separation in Virginia.
We hope that this information will help people understand some of the complications that can arise in this area of the law.