in retrospect, this sounds dumb. but it kind of makes intuitive sense.
Actually, I think you got it spot on. Here's what he State Council Of Higher Education For Virginia says.http://www.schev.edu/students/VAdomicile.asp
A married person may establish domicile like any other student. A person's domicile is not automatically altered by marriage. However, if a student receives substantial financial support from his or her spouse, the student may claim domicile through the spouse. In such cases, the college or university will look at the spouse's domicile to determine if the student is eligible for in-state tuition or state financial aid programs. You must inform the institution if you wish to claim domicile through your spouse.
So, if you're married, ideally you would want to move to the state befor classes start. If your spouse can find employment that theoretically would continue beyond your graduation, if you both file taxes, get drivers licenses etc, and especially if you purchased property, you could probably etablish residency for 2L and 3L.