Steve Shubin owns U.S. Patent #5782818A1, a “Device for discreet sperm collection.” We mention this because a) Steve Shubin is a multimillionaire now, b) the “device” is better known as the Fleshlight, and c) if you as a Virginia man separate from your wife in Virginia, you just might need one.

Separation Anxiety

When you separate from your spouse in Virginia, you are not starting a “legal separation.” You are married up until the moment a Virginia Circuit Court judge pronounces you and she divorced. The state has no middle ground:

  1. You are either married, or
  2. You are divorced

Being separated from your legal spouse starts a waiting period:

  • Six months if you have no children
  • A year if you have kids

After the waiting period, you and your wife can begin divorce proceedings. This waiting period ensures you and she are serious about divorcing and are ready to proceed with a no-fault, uncontested divorce (the easiest and least expensive kind).

During that time, you and your wife are not exactly assigned to small cubicles devoid of human contact. You can go about your work, keep a home, visit the gym, buy groceries, eat out, and all the normal things adults do.


Except you should not, while separated from your wife pending a Virginia divorce, have sex with her.

Not once. Not “accidentally.” Not. At. All.

Simon Says

“Simon says … hop. Simon says … step forward six steps. Simon says … separate from your spouse. Have sex with her.” Aha! You’re out. Simon did not say to have sex with your wife. In fact, Simon will never say to have sex with your wife during a Virginia separation.

Simon could provide a handy checklist of all the things you should not do for or with your spouse while separated:

  • You should not have sex (or anything resembling sex) together
  • You should not clean her home, wash her clothes, vacuum up spilled uncooked rice (the biggest pain, right?), iron her blouses, mow her lawn, or plow her driveway after a snowfall

Under Code of Virginia § 20-91, a divorce may be decreed:

(9) (a) On the application of either party if and when they have lived separate and apart without any cohabitation and without interruption for one year. In any case where … there are no minor children …, a divorce may be decreed on application if and when they have lived separately and apart without cohabitation and without interruption for six months. (our added emphasis)

Do not seek an “out” that lets you bump fuzzies in the Code’s vagueness. The Commonwealth tidies that up neatly, thank you, in case law: Rickman v. Com., 535 S.E.2d 187 (Va. Ct. App. 2000). The Virginia Court of Appeals partakes of a lengthy examination of “cohabitation,” waxing philosophical with,

“Interpreting a property settlement agreement in Schweider v. Schweider, 243 Va. 245, 415 S.E.2d 135 (1992), the Virginia Supreme Court noted that, “[w]hile engaging in sexual relations is a factor in determining cohabitation, ‘”matrimonial cohabitation” consists of more than sexual relations.”

Then, the Appeals Court drops the hammer. It determines the precise essentials of cohabitation:

[T]he essential elements of “cohabitation” are (1) sharing of familial or financial responsibilities and (2) consortium. Possible factors establishing shared familial or financial responsibilities might include provisions for shelter, food, clothing, utilities, and/or commingled assets. Factors that might establish consortium include mutual respect, fidelity, affection, society, cooperation, solace, comfort, aid of each other, friendship, and conjugal relations.

Can She Accuse You of Rape?

If you have sex with your separated wife, she can accuse you of rape or, at the very least, assault and battery of a family member, a violation of Code § 18.2-57.2. That can give her an advantage against you in the divorce proceedings, compelling you to agree to her terms, her demands, her financial conditions.

Sex with other women is not a great idea, either. Your separated wife can charge you with adultery. Suddenly your uncontested, no-fault divorce is very much your fault.

Call Our Separation & Divorce Lawyers

With no sex with your wife or other women, your separation may feel very lonely. Still, since the separation clock resets every time you and your separated wife “unseparate,” our concise advice: Steve Shubin’s clever device may have to suffice.

Avoid ruining your life by making the wrong move. Turn to the seasoned separation and divorce attorneys of The Firm For Men. Let us guide you through separation and divorce and help you retain your dignity and pride. Contact us online today or telephone our office at (757) 383-9184.