The Steps for Obtaining a Divorce in Virginia

By Wayne Thomas

Correctly following all of the rules and procedures for obtaining a divorce can seem like a daunting task. In Virginia, if you decide to move forward without legal assistance, you must first make sure that you are eligible to file in the state and complete the appropriate paperwork. As your case moves forward, the steps for finalizing your divorce will vary depending on your specific circumstances.

Correctly following all of the rules and procedures for obtaining a divorce can seem like a daunting task. In Virginia, if you decide to move forward without legal assistance, you must first make sure that you are eligible to file in the state and complete the appropriate paperwork. As your case moves forward, the steps for finalizing your divorce will vary depending on your specific circumstances.

Establishing Residency

Before you initiate the divorce process in Virginia, you must make sure that you are legally eligible to file in the state. Under Virginia's residency requirement, either you or your spouse must have lived in the state for the previous six months.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

The Paperwork

Once residency is established, the next step is to draft a complaint. This document needs to include basic information about the marriage and the reason why you want a divorce. Virginia allows you divorce on the basis of separation from your spouse for one year. If you have no children and have a written separation agreement, this period is reduced to six months. Other grounds for divorce include adultery, extreme cruelty, and felony conviction. These are known as "fault" grounds and need to be proven in court. You may also include specific requests regarding property, spousal support and custody in the complaint.

Filing Procedure

Once you finish the complaint, it must be filed. If your spouse is a resident of Virginia, you may file it with the circuit court in the county where she currently lives or where you last lived together. If she lives out of state and is difficult to locate, you may file the complaint in the county where you live. After the complaint has been filed, you are required to provide your spouse with a copy along with a summons issued by the court. In Virginia, this may be done "personally" by a sheriff, or posted on your spouse's front door and mailed by first class mail.

Uncontested Divorce

If you and your spouse are in agreement on the major divorce issues, the next step is usually a hearing or oral deposition. Here, you and your spouse will testify that all eligibility requirements are met and all divorce matters are settled. The presiding judge will then review your statements and any written agreements and issue the final divorce decree.

Contested Divorce

A trial is necessary if you and your spouse disagree about the reason for divorce or about an aspect of property division, spousal support or custody. In this case, there may be several additional steps, including attending hearings for temporary orders, and making requests to exchange evidence that you and your spouse intend to present at trial. The final step is actually attending the trial where the judge will hear your case and issue the divorce decree.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to Get Divorced in Tennessee

References

Related articles

How to File for Divorce in the State of Arkansas

In Arkansas, the requirements for divorce vary depending on how you were married. The state recognizes both standard marriages and what are known as covenant marriages. In a covenant marriage a couple takes an oath of understanding that marriage is a lifelong commitment. Nonetheless, a divorce may still be granted for covenant marriages after completion of counseling and a court-ordered separation. Understanding the requirements for filing a divorce for regular and covenant marriages in Arkansas will help ensure that you avoid unnecessary delays in the divorce process.

Divorce by Default

A divorce by default is one of the simplest ways to divorce. It generally occurs when one spouse doesn’t answer a divorce complaint within the required time frame. Sometimes, when spouses are in agreement as to the grounds and terms of the divorce, they might decide to obtain a divorce by default as a way to avoid the additional paperwork involved in completing an uncontested divorce process. Each state has its own set of rules regarding fees, service and documents concerning the divorce process. You can use an online legal document service to prepare and file all your divorce paperwork.

How to Answer Divorce Complaints in Georgia

Being served with divorce paperwork can be a stressful experience. These documents are often difficult to understand and you may be left confused and unsure about how and when to respond. Knowing how to properly answer a divorce complaint in Georgia will help ensure that you are able to exercise all your rights in the divorce.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to Get a Divorce in Virginia When a Spouse Is Contesting

Finding common ground in a divorce action is not always easy. For divorcing couples in Virginia who cannot agree, the ...

Time That it Takes to Finalize a Divorce in New Jersey

Filing for divorce can be a stressful and emotional process. Therefore, knowing how long you can expect your divorce ...

How to Get an Annulment in Virginia

An annulment is different from a divorce -- a divorce legally ends a valid marriage, whereas an annulment declares the ...

How to File an Actual Desertion for Divorce in Virginia

Willful desertion is a legal ground for divorce in Virginia. A claim of willful desertion is an assertion of fault by ...

Browse by category