Herndon, VA asked in Family Law for Virginia

Q: Is the absence of sex grounds for divorce?

There is no sexual intercourse between me and my wife for many years, as my wife refuses to have sex. We live in the same house in separate bedrooms. Can I apply for divorce based on deferred sex from wife?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Thomas H. Roberts Esq
Thomas H. Roberts Esq
  • Richmond, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: Mere coolness at times and periodical refusal of sexual intercourse alone, with the marital relationship otherwise unimpaired, does not constitute desertion. Ringgold v. Ringgold, 128 Va. 485, 104 S.E. 836, 12 A.L.R. 1383; Wills v. Wills, 74 W.Va. 709, 82 S.E. 1092, L.R.A. 1915B, 770; McKinney v. McKinney, 77 W.Va. 58, 87 S.E. 928. In Ringgold v. Ringgold, supra, it is said at page 495:

"It is very generally held that where the marriage relation remains otherwise unimpaired, the mere cessation of marital intercourse in the sexual sense, though without justifying cause, does not amount to either cruelty or desertion within the meaning of the divorce laws."

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