How to File for Divorce in Virginia Without a Lawyer

By Tom Streissguth

A divorce can be a complex, expensive and emotionally trying process. If there is a dispute between you and your spouse over child custody, property or support payments, the process becomes even more difficult and time-consuming. However, if you agree on the terms of the divorce, you may be able to carry out a legal divorce without the added expense of an attorney's time and advice.

Step 1

Draw up a Bill of Complaint, which serves as a petition to the court to hear the matter and enter a signed Final Decree for the divorce into the record. Establish grounds for the divorce; Virginia law allows for "no-fault" grounds of separation for at least one year, as well as grounds such as adultery and insanity which you may assert and then prove through evidence you must provide and a signed affidavit.

Step 2

Serve the Bill of Complaint on your spouse, either by private process server or through the sheriff's department of the county in which your spouse resides. Your spouse may also voluntarily acknowledge service by filing an Answer to the Bill of Complaint. If you are unable to locate your spouse, you must serve the Bill of Complaint by publication: a newspaper announcement with which the court clerk can assist you.

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

Step 3

Attend a Pendente Lite hearing to temporarily settle issues of child custody and support, visitation rights and living arrangements. In many Virginia counties, you attend a regularly scheduled "open motion" hearing, at which the court hears motions and other matters on a first-come-first served basis.

Step 4

Draw up a deposition concerning the grounds for the divorce and sign this deposition before a notary public. You must have at least one witness for the grounds, whether contested or uncontested. You may also establish the grounds by attending an open hearing and giving testimony in court, although this is not required for uncontested divorces.

Step 5

Draw up a marital settlement agreement and proposed final decree with your spouse. Detail the resolution of all matters to be enforced by the law. These include grounds for the divorce, child custody, visitation and support, the division of property, and all other relevant matters.

Step 6

Attend a final hearing, at which a judge will review your marital settlement agreement, ask questions of either party on the terms of the divorce, explain the legal enforcement of the terms and sign a final decree. This decree makes the divorce final and legal as of the date the judge signs it.

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

References

Resources

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 state has several requirements for successfully completing a contested divorce. The process begins by responding to the divorce petition, known as a Bill of Complaint in Virginia, and participating in a hearing with a divorce commissioner. Afterward, the case will then proceed to trial and be decided by a judge, once all pretrial matters have been completed.

An Uncontested Divorce in Kansas

Although an uncontested divorce may be less stressful and time-consuming than a contested divorce, you must ensure that you follow the laws of the state to properly dissolve the marriage. An uncontested divorce means that the couple agree to end the marriage and agree on the terms of the divorce, including spousal support, property division, child custody and child support. Before a divorce settlement agreement is finalized in Kansas, the court must review the settlement agreement to ensure that it is fair for both spouses.

How to File for Legal Separation in New Jersey

Dissolving a marriage is an emotionally draining process even when both spouses are on board. It may be easier to handle the break in stages, with separation serving as an interim step before moving straight to full-fledged divorce. Many states, such as California, have statutes that provide for legal separation and detail the responsibilities of both spouses and the courts during the process. Unfortunately, New Jersey doesn't make it so easy. While there is no legal separation statute in New Jersey, there are alternatives that allow separating spouses to set out their respective obligations and provide for court enforcement.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Summons for Divorce in Tennessee

The state of Tennessee recognizes 15 legal grounds for divorce, including the no-fault grounds of irreconcilable ...

Can You File for Divorce in Virginia if Your Spouse Refuses?

While divorce is typically an emotionally difficult process, the complexity and frustration of a divorce case is ...

How to File Your Own Divorce Papers in Tennessee

In order to file for divorce in Tennessee, you must draw up the necessary papers, file them with a court clerk, have ...

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
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED