How to get divorced in virginia

This is the number by which the Court references your case and it must appear on all documents regarding your divorce. After you file the Complaint you must determine how the Defendant will be served with the Complaint. If you arranged for this service, the Sheriff or Private Process Server will receive a Summons and a copy of the Complaint to serve on the Defendant. Once they have been served, the Defendant has 21 days to respond to the Complaint.

These are matters where all property, custody, child support and spousal support rights are resolved, and neither party is going to put on any fault grounds for divorce, and where neither party is going to put on any evidence of the facts and circumstances leading to the dissolution of the marriage. If there are any property rights to be resolved, and the parties desire to put on evidence of facts and circumstances leading to the dissolution of the marriage, the case will still be heard by a Commissioner along with the grounds for divorce.

The Commissioner is a local attorney appointed by the Court to hear the evidence in the divorce case. This Commissioner reports upon the matter to the Court and makes a recommendation as to whether or not a divorce should be granted. You may submit the Decree of Reference to the Court after the Defendant has filed an answer to the Complaint. Seven to ten days after filing the Decree of Reference, you must call to receive the name and phone number of the Commissioner who has been appointed; you must contact him to arrange a time for your hearing.

You do not have to do this if the Defendant has waived notice. You must be prepared to present evidence to support every allegation in your Complaint. You must also bring a witness to corroborate your testimony. Many Commissioners question you and your witness to elicit testimony. Some Commissioners may require you to present all of the evidence and to question the witness yourself.

After the hearing, the Commissioner has 30 days to submit his report to the Court. The Commissioner will notify you and the Court once the report has been filed. You can complete some of the process associated with filing a divorce in Virginia online. There are several firms and private attorneys who will be able to assist you by hiring them through their website and exchanging emails to complete required forms. This can save time and money, especially in an uncontested divorce.

However, ultimately you or your attorney will need to file the appropriate documents at the court in the county where you or your spouse live. Some forms may also need to be notarized but in many cases the court has a public notary that you can use. You can file for divorce in Virginia without using a lawyer as long as you meet all the pertinent requirements. Not using an attorney works best for no-fault divorces which are must less complicated than fault-based divorces.

To access the packet, go here. Another way to avoid using a lawyer is to agree to use the services of a mediator instead. Both spouses must agree to this option. A mediator will review financial documents, forms and worksheets as part of a discovery process and then guide you and your spouse through a series of discussions about the outstanding issues, attempting to peacefully resolve things such as child support and custody, alimony and a division of assets. Once these issues are resolved, a mediator will draft a Memorandum of Understanding and you will file this document with the court as part of your divorce process.

In addition, you will also have to pay a fee to have your spouse served by one of several methods. Most of the time, having a county sheriff complete service is the most inexpensive way to go. If you are not able to afford the filing fees and associated costs, it is possible to petition for a waiver of fees by also filing a Petition for Proceeding in Civil Case without payment of Fees or Costs. Any other costs should be minimal in an uncontested divorce.

Expect to also have to pay some sort of retainer up front as well. In some cases, a judge may require a couple to go through mediation as part of the divorce process. Fully contested divorces can run into the tens of thousands of dollars depending on how contentious the divorce is, what kind of assets are involved, and how much disagreement there is with child custody and support issues.


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  • Virginia Divorce Laws – FAQs?

In an uncontested divorce in Virginia, it is required that you live apart from your spouse for at least one year before you can file paperwork. This length of time is reduced to six months if you have no minor children and you have a signed separation agreement. Once paperwork has been filed, it takes anywhere from 30 to 90 days for a divorce to be final.

Separation in Virginia - Livesay & Myers, PC

That amount of time will be dependent on the caseload of the court where you filed and the availability of a judge to review the appropriate documents and sign the final Decree of Divorce. Contested fault-based divorces take more time, because proof of the ground being claimed requires proof to be submitted and verified.

In cases where there are disagreements about a division of assets, child support, custody, alimony and other issues, a divorce could take much longer and will be more complicated. It could take several months and possibly a year or two to reach a final settlement. Every divorce has financial issues that need to be addressed. In some cases, a family law attorney can provide all the information you need. A CDFA can help you understand the long-term impact of your decisions so you can weigh the pros and cons.

In fact, working with a CDFA can actually lower the cost of your divorce by giving you more clarity to make decisions which cuts down on the back-and-forth negotiations. Bifurcation means that both parties in a divorce can legally divide their divorce into two stages. The first part satisfies the grounds for the divorce.

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Vital Records: Birth, Marriage, Divorce, and Death Certificates

The marriage is terminated at that point. Bifurcation means that the financial aspects of the divorce such as child custody, visitation, child support, alimony or other contentious issues that may have stalled or that have become major sticking points will be finalized at a later date. Virginia will allow bifurcation to take place but consider it not a matter of right nor should it be a common practice. As such, courts are given wide discretion to grant bifurcation in irregular situations and when it is necessary to achieve equity. Spouses in Virginia who pursue this option must understand they could incur more legal bills going this route and that because some of the incentives to resolve differences are removed by bifurcation, a final settlement could take much longer.

You cannot stop someone who wants to divorce you. The best you can hope to do is slow the process down by contesting the divorce, but ultimately, it will take place if at least one party wants it to happen.

If you are the one who petitioned for the divorce and you change your mind, it may be possible to stop the process before a divorce has been finalized. You will need to go to the court where you filed the papers and ask to have your complaint dismissed.

A Guide to Divorce in Virginia

Most times, the process will be simple with a one or a two page form at most that must be completed and filed with the court. A divorce degree is a legal document that establishes proof that a divorce is final in Virginia. The decree is a summary of the rights and responsibilities of each party, including financial responsibilities and a division of assets.

The following are six common myths I have heard regarding separation and divorce, and the facts about each.

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Fact: Although some divorce cases end up in a final hearing before a judge, the vast majority of cases are resolved beforehand — even cases that start out being very contentious. Someone has to make decisions on issues regarding children, support, and property. The people in the best position to make these decisions are the parties themselves, although many need help getting there.

Must a Husband or Wife Leave the Marital Home Upon Request in Virginia?

In many cases, couples may want to work out the issues they face, but need help doing so. Fortunately, many tools exist to help. Parties can attend mediation before or after a case is filed in court. A trained and skilled mediator can facilitate communication between parties, and help guide the parties to a resolution.

What’s the Fastest Way to Get a Divorce in Virginia?

Collaborative law is another option for couples who agree that they want to stay out of court, but need support and guidance to resolve the issues between them. In collaborative law, both parties retain separate, specially trained attorneys who work together, rather than against one another, in an effort to help the parties resolve their differences.

Fact: Even if you are still living in the same house, and perhaps even sleeping in the same bed, if you are considering divorce or your husband has told you he is considering divorce , you should seek counsel to ensure your rights are protected.