How to File an Uncontested Divorce in the Commonwealth of Virginia

By Travis Gray, J.D.

How to File an Uncontested Divorce in the Commonwealth of Virginia

By Travis Gray, J.D.

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, a divorce doesn't have to devolve into a lengthy battle. In fact, many couples agree to split amicably with little to no disagreement over shared property or other issues. In these cases, an uncontested divorce is possible. An uncontested divorce is one in which both parties agree to the divorce in order to avoid any unnecessary litigation. In addition to saving you time, an uncontested divorce can also keep your costs down. If you meet the basic requirements for divorce in Virginia, an uncontested divorce is possible so long as your spouse agrees.

Attorney helping a couple by showing them documents

Virginia Divorce Requirements

There are some restrictions on who can file for divorce in Virginia. For starters, you or your spouse must have resided in Virginia continuously for the six months prior to filing for divorce. You and your spouse must also live apart for six months prior to the filing. If you and your spouse have children, the separation must last for at least 12 months. When filing for divorce, you must bring the suit in the county in Virginia where you or your spouse resides.

The Divorce Process

If you qualify for a divorce under Virginia law, you are only five steps away from completing your uncontested divorce. While an uncontested divorce is far less complicated than a contested matter, there are still plenty of formalities and rules you must comply with.

1. Bill of Complaint for Divorce

To begin, you must initiate the divorce by filing a bill of complaint for divorce with the county circuit court where you or your spouse resides. You will also be required to pay a filing fee at the time you file. Once the bill of compliant is filed with the clerk and entered into the record, the court will give you a case number and file-stamped copies of your documents.

2. Serve your Spouse

Because a divorce affects the rights of your spouse, you must formally notify them that the bill of complaint for divorce has been filed. Typically, you will need to pay the sheriff's department to serve your spouse with divorce papers.

3. Obtain a Waiver of Notice

If your spouse has no objection to the divorce, they can speed up the process tremendously by signing a waiver of notice. The waiver is then filed with the court and is used to notify the judge that your spouse has no objection. This is helpful in that it relinquishes many of the rights and privileges by your spouse during the course of a divorce. The end result is that you can largely proceed with the divorce with limited interruption.

4. Prepare a Property Settlement Agreement

Before a divorce can be finalized, you and your spouse must agree to a property settlement agreement. This document should be comprehensive and outline how your marital property should be distributed after the divorce is finalized. If you have children with your spouse, the agreement should also have a proposed custody and visitation plan. Once the property settlement agreement is signed by you and your spouse, you can schedule your final hearing.

5. Schedule a Hearing to Finalize Your Divorce

A divorce hearing is not technically required, but most judges prefer to have one before signing off on your divorce. Known as an “ore tenus" hearing, this court date provides you the chance to ask the court in person for a divorce. If the judge agrees, they will sign off on a final decree immediately.

There are several steps you must complete to obtain an uncontested Virginia divorce. But with a little preparation, the process can happen faster than you think.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help.

Learn more