Virginia Divorce and Family Law Legal Resources

The foundation of family and divorce law in Virginia is statutory. This body of law consists of legislation set forth in the Code of Virginia, passed and amended from time to time by the General Assembly, Virginia’s legislative body, and signed into law by the Governor. Those code sections are indexed at this site as Virginia Family Law Code Sections. The code sections that comprise these Virginia divorce legal resources are listed by cite and brief description, and are linked to the actual text of the Code of Virginia made available to the public through the Legislative Information System of the Virginia General Assembly. Most code sections related to divorce and family law in Virginia are included.

Information About Virginia Family Law

Virginia also has a common law tradition dating back to our historical connections with England. Under the common law tradition, judges create and modify law as part of the process of deciding cases. In Virginia, our courts of appeal (but not our trial courts) make law when they issue opinions in individual cases. The lawmaking role of the courts of appeal in divorce and family law cases is primarily focused on the interpretation of the code sections identified in the preceding paragraph.

Virginia has two courts of appeal, the Virginia Supreme Court and the Virginia Court of Appeals. Parties involved in divorce and family law cases have an automatic right of appeal from the local circuit courts to the Virginia Court of Appeals, so most appellate decisions in this area of the law are from the Court of Appeals.

Family law decisions issued by the Virginia Supreme Court either pre - date the creation in January 1985 of the Virginia Court of Appeals, or involve an appeal from the Court of Appeals to the Virginia Supreme Court. The Family Law Cases section of this site contains entries for over 1,100 family law - related opinions issued by Virginia’s appellate courts. The opinions that make up these Virginia divorce legal resources are organized by “chapters” or topic as follows: Marriage, Termination of the Marriage, Children, Support – Child and Spousal, Property Distribution, Agreements, Evidence, Litigation Procedure and Law, and Miscellaneous. Each legal resource contains a brief annotation of important legal principles addressed as well as a link (when available) to the actual opinion text from the Virginia Courts website ( ).

The United States Supreme Court periodically hears and decides family law cases, as well as cases that have an impact on family law in Virginia. Several of those decisions are included in the Family Law Cases section of this site.

In addition to relevant code sections and cases, this site contains content regarding various Virginia family law topics, such as divorce, the division of assets and debts (equitable distribution), alimony (spousal support), child custody, visitation, child support, adoptions, tax issues, and other family law - related matters.

How do I use This Site?

To get the most out of this legal resource you can navigate it a few different ways. Say, for example, you would like to know more about how property will be distributed among parties in a divorce proceeding. You can learn more about the legal aspects surrounding this topic in the following ways:

  1. Utilizing the “Search” function.
    1. Locate the “Search Box” on the right side of the webpage.
    2. Type the phrase “property distribution” into the box and click on the magnifying glass in the blue box.
    3. The “Search Box” will return all pages linked from this website with information related to the phrase “property distribution” as well as pages related to the individual words “property” and “distribution.”
    4. After clicking the magnifying glass, you can navigate to the different pages with pertinent information by clicking on the blue text.
  2. “Click to Navigate”
    1. Locate the white text headings contained in blue boxes at the top of the webpage.
    2. These headings read “Virginia Family Law Code Sections,” “Virginia Family Law Cases,” and “Recent Cases.”
    3. Click the heading which best matches the type of information regarding property distribution you seek.
    4. Each heading will link you to another webpage which contains clickable links in the form of blue text.
    5. Continue clicking the blue text until you have sufficiently refined your search and pinpointed your desired information.

Of course, these two methods may be used in combination if one or the other provides insight on research in the form of more specific or technical terms and phrases. Please keep in mind that code sections will be referenced in various cases. It is always beneficial to look for occurrences of code and case citations which are cross referenced on other pages of this website. Locating these cross references and reading the application of code sections and case standards in cases with different fact patterns will enhance your understanding of your Divorce or Family Law issue.

Divorce and family law are complicated with rules and exceptions set forth in both the Virginia Code and the Virginia case law. The Virginia divorce legal resources on this site are intended for the use of the general public and family law attorneys in Virginia. Please do not consider this site to contain legal advice. An attorney can provide you with legal advice only after learning the specific facts of your case. Please consider the information contained at this site to be of general educational value only. Raynor & Farmer maintains this site as a free service to both the public and to the legal community. Content is constantly being added in our effort to provide the most current information available. If you notice any errors or non - functioning links, or if you have questions or suggestions for additional content, please contact Steve Raynor, Editor. If you are in need of legal representation in a divorce or family law case in Virginia, please contact Raynor & Farmer at (434) 220 - 6066, or visit our website at Thank you.

The assistance of R. Carter Lawson and Sarah Bullins with this website is gratefully acknowledged.