How Do I File for Divorce in Virginia?
Filing for divorce is a confusing and difficult time. Aside from the emotional repercussions, the actual legal process is complex and overwhelming. If you are considering filing for divorce, contact a Virginia divorce attorney for assistance.
VA Divorce Requirements
To obtain a divorce in Virginia, either you or your spouse must be a resident of Virginia for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. If you do not have children, you must be separated from your significant other for at least six months. If you do have children, you must be separated for at least one year before divorcing. If you meet these requirements, follow these procedures to obtain a divorce:
- Retain a Virginia divorce lawyer. You can represent yourself in a divorce case, but that is not recommended. If you choose not to hire a lawyer, you cannot receive legal advice from court personnel.
- File a complaint. A complaint is your official petition to the court for a divorce. In addition to the complaint, you may have to fill out additional paperwork and pay filing and sheriff fees.
- Serve the defendant. If you are filing for divorce, you are the plaintiff and your spouse becomes the defendant. Once the complaint and appropriate paperwork have been filed, you are responsible for serving the defendant with the complaint.
- Proceed with the divorce action. There are two tracks for divorce — contested and uncontested. If you have reached an agreement on all divorce terms — including property division, child custody and spousal support — you can be put on the uncontested track and settle quickly. If your divorce is contested, it will be set for trial.
Provided everything goes well at your uncontested divorce hearing, a judge will grant you a Final Divorce Decree. A trial may be a bit more complicated and requires much more preparation.
Let the divorce law firm of Kuder, Smollar, Friedman & Mihalik, PC help you through this process. Our knowledgeable attorneys understand the ins and outs of Virginia divorce law.