How to Divorce in Virginia

April 23, 2018

From cheating and substance abuse problems to cultural differences and simply growing apart; people throughout Virginia choose to get divorced for all sorts of reasons. While divorce is exceedingly common, for individuals who haven't been through one, the actual divorce process is often somewhat of a mystery.

If you are contemplating filing or suspect that a spouse is planning to file for divorce, it's important to learn about the divorce process and how an attorney can advocate on your behalf through every step and stage.

Virginia Divorce Basics

  • There are two types of divorce in Virginia - Residents seeking a divorce may be surprised to learn that there are two types of divorce in Virginia; divorce from bed and board and divorce from the bond of matrimony- which are more commonly referred to as a legal separation and a no-fault divorce. 
  • Resident eligability requirements - At least one spouse must be a Virginia resident for six or more months prior to a divorce proceeding initiation. 
  • Legal separation in Virginia - A judge may grant a legal separation if one spouse deserts or abandons the other or in cases involving domestic violence. A legal separation bars either spouse from remarrying, however, in some cases, a full separation divorce may be granted twelve months from the date a legal separation was issued. 
  • No fault divorce in Virginia - Spouses seeking a no fault divorce in Virginia must live apart for more than 12 months. In cases where a couple has no minor-aged children and enters into a separation or property settlement, a no fault divorce may be granted after six months of living apart. 

Divorce Process in Virginia

  1. One spouse files a divorce complaint with the appropriate Virginia court
  2. A summons and copy of the divorce complaint are served upon the nonfiling spouse
  3. Both spouses exchange information and documents related to marital assets and property. In an uncontested divorce, both spouses provide evidence through a deposition or a signed affidavit. In a contested divorce, evidence is presented before a judge at a court hearing.
  4. Parties either resolve issues related to the division of property and assets and child custody on their own via a divorce settlement or they take their case to court and a family law judge makes final decisions related to these matters.
  5. A final divorce decree is issued

If you are contemplating filing or believe that a spouse may file for divorce, it's important to seek the advice and assistance of an attorney. The decisions you make during a divorce can have significant and unforseen financial and personal consequences. A divorce attorney will ensure that you have the information you need to make informed decisions and that your best interests are being respected and promoted.

All people are equal before the law. A good attorney.

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