First, she did the best thing by putting miles between herself and the abuser. Now based in what you provided, it appears your niece has three separate issues. One, if she was married in VA, she must get divorced in VA. Two, Although I am not familiar with VA divorce law, it sounds as if the advice you were given was for her to wait 6 months before filing for divorce. In LA we have a comparable period for a divorce (living separate and apart 180 days prior to filing, under the present circumstances), so if that is the advice you were given, it sounds about right. As for the third issue, she has constructively vacated the premises and has left the state with no apparent intention to return to the leased premises, and her spouse no longer is paying rent. Hence, the landlord has the right to reclaim the property due to the breach of the lease agreement. Also, Louisiana and other states practice a doctrine called "full faith and credit" which means that if you were married in one state, Louisiana will recognize the marriage from Virginia. However, a divorce is different. She has to make at least an appearance in the state she wed, via attorney or otherwise. However, assuming she consulted for a divorce, and if she just left, she will have to wait the allotted time before filing for divorce. Good Luck.
<<DISCLAIMER>> Information provided in this response is intended to be informational or educational only. It in no way establishes an attorney-client relationship. Because every case is factually (and in some instances jurisdictionally) dependent, it is not possible to accurately answer each question posed. If you have sincere legal concerns, it is highly recommended that you seek legal counsel IN YOUR AREA. A response is not intended to create, nor does it create, a continuing duty to respond. Also, Ms. Eskinde is licensed in Louisiana, so if you require immediate assistance, then you need to contact someone who is in your state, if outside of Louisiana.
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