What You Need to Know About Uncontested Divorce in Virginia

Getting an uncontested divorce can ease the separation process for both spouses. Here’s everything you need to know about uncontested divorces in Virginia.

Both spouses must meet specific residency requirements to get an uncontested divorce in Virginia. To get an uncontested divorce in Virginia, fill out the necessary forms, file them with the court, and notify the other spouse. The judge may review the spouses’ settlement before signing the agreement and finalizing the divorce.

Related: How to Calculate Child Support in Virginia

Uncontested Divorce Requirements in Virginia

Virginia may refer to an uncontested divorce as a no-fault divorce. A no-fault divorce acknowledges neither spouse as responsible for the relationship dissolution and certifies both spouses lived separately for at least 12 months before one spouse filed the divorce. Spouses must meet particular requirements to file for divorce in Virginia:

  • One spouse must continuously reside in Virginia for six months, and
  • One spouse must also live apart for six months (12 months if the spouses have children).

The petitioning spouse must file for divorce in the Virginia county where one of the spouses resides.

How to Get an Uncontested Divorce in Virginia

File a Bill of Complaint for Divorce

The petitioning spouse must file a bill of complaint about divorce with the court in the county where one spouse resides. The complaint should include the grounds for divorce, necessary information about both spouses, and additional forms about child custody and support if applicable. The court may ask the petitioning spouse to pay a filing fee for the documents. The petitioning spouse should inquire if they qualify for an In Forma Pauperis form (fee waiver).

Related: How Mental Health Issues Affect Divorce In Virginia

Serve the Other Spouse

The petitioning spouse must notify the other spouse through service of process. The other spouse must receive the divorce papers and reserves the right to object to the complaint if desired. The local sheriff’s department often performs service of process for the petitioning spouse.

Ask the Other Spouse to Sign a Waiver of Notice

Both spouses may sign a waiver of notice if neither party objects to the divorce. A waiver of notice relinquishes spousal rights and privileges often responsible for slowing down the divorce process. A waiver of notice can eliminate potential points of dispute because the other spouse possesses no objection.

Draft a Divorce Settlement

A divorce settlement can finalize the divorce’s essential aspects. The spouses should tailor the divorce settlement to address terms such as child custody, child support, alimony, and property division specific to the case. The spouses can schedule a final divorce hearing after each party signs the divorce settlement agreement.

Schedule and Attend the Final Divorce Hearing

Most Virginia counties require the spouses to attend a final divorce hearing. The spouses may ask the court for a divorce in person, and a judge can sign a final decree if the terms are acceptable. The spouses may also file an affidavit to avoid the final divorce hearing. The ability to avoid a final divorce hearing depends on the county.

The divorce becomes official once the judge signs the Decree of Divorce.

FAQs About Uncontested Divorce in Virginia

How much does it cost to file for divorce in Virginia?

The cost to file for divorce varies by county. Check the local county website to determine how much it costs to file for divorce. The county may also provide the petitioning spouse with a fee waiver if the spouse qualifies.

How long does an uncontested divorce take in Virginia?

Virginia does not provide a standard timeframe for how long an uncontested divorce should take. The uncontested divorce process duration depends on a case’s unique circumstances. However, the uncontested aspect of the divorce significantly shortens the amount of time the overall process should last.

What if the other spouse objects to the divorce terms in Virginia?

Virginia considers a divorce contested if the respondent spouse objects to the petitioning spouse’s filing for divorce. The divorce will then go to court, where the judge may hear each spouse’s claims and issue orders on the relevant issues. Contested divorces can last much longer than uncontested divorces and remove control from the spouses.

Do I need a lawyer to draft my divorce settlement agreement in Virginia?

Neither spouse legally requires a lawyer to help draft the divorce settlement. However, a lawyer can ensure the agreement covers all relevant aspects of the divorce and is legally enforceable. A mediator may also help resolve divorce agreement disputes and guide the spouses toward an amicable solution.

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If you or a loved one would like to learn more about uncontested divorce in Virginia, get connected to an attorney with one of our divorce attorneys today!