Is There a Public Notice for a Divorce in the State of Virginia?

By Heather Frances J.D.

When Virginia spouses divorce, both have an opportunity to be involved in the process, and mandatory notifications from one spouse to the other ensure that neither spouse can get a divorce in secret, hiding from the other spouse. However, a spouse wishing to divorce sometimes cannot locate the other spouse, so the filing spouse can publish an Order of Publication to use newspapers to give notice to the missing spouse.

Residency and Grounds

Spouses cannot get a divorce in Virginia until one or both of them have been a resident of Virginia for at least six months before filing for divorce. Spouses can file for divorce on no-fault grounds of separation or on fault-based grounds. Fault grounds, such as adultery, conviction of a felony, cruelty, or abandonment, require proof that the grounds exist. Virginia allows spouses to be divorced, without proving either party was at fault, if they have been separated for at least a year. The required separation period is six months, if the couple has entered a separation agreement and no children are involved.

Beginning a Divorce

The divorce process begins when one spouse files a complaint for divorce with the appropriate local court. The complaint includes basic information about the spouses and marriage, along with the grounds for divorce and list of any minor children born during the marriage. The complaint also must include a statement that both spouses are at least 18 and a statement of each spouse’s military status. Once a spouse files a complaint for divorce, he must serve a copy of the complaint on his spouse. Divorce paperwork can be personally served on the other spouse by a sheriff or private process server, and the non-filing spouse can waive service.

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

Service by Publication

If the non-filing spouse does not live in Virginia or cannot be located, he can be served by publication, but the filing spouse must first make a diligent effort to locate the missing spouse. This may include checking with friends and relatives, searching phone directories and checking with the post office for a forwarding address. The Order of Publication must be published in an appropriate local newspaper, as determined by the court where the case was filed. The Order of Publication must be published at least once a week for four consecutive weeks.

Completing the Divorce

When a filing spouse uses service by publication, he must file additional paperwork to move forward with the divorce, including the original Order of Publication and an affidavit describing the residency of the non-filing spouse. Once the publication requirements are complete, the court can move forward with the divorce. However, the court can only terminate the marriage and include any written agreements the spouses reached. If the spouses did not reach agreement, the court cannot resolve any issues other than terminating the marriage.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to Serve Divorce Papers


Related articles

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 original marriage invalid. The grounds for annulment are strictly limited, and annulments are granted far less frequently than divorces. Virginia, like other states, applies its own annulment law, including a statute of limitations. If you find that you are ineligible for an annulment, you can still obtain a divorce in Virginia, as long as you meet residency requirements.

How to Get a Divorce If You Are an Inmate in a State Prison in Georgia

Divorce is the legal recognition that your marriage has ended. If you or your spouse is an inmate in a state prison in Georgia, either one of you can still file for divorce. However, to file for divorce in Georgia, you must follow the proper procedure including meeting the state’s residency requirements, filing a divorce complaint with the appropriate court, and serving the other spouse with a copy of the divorce complaint.

How Do I File for Divorce in Oregon?

In Oregon, divorce is called dissolution of marriage. Either spouse can file for dissolution and must do so in accordance with the procedures set forth in the Oregon statutes. During the dissolution proceeding, a court may divide marital property, award alimony, decide custody issues and terminate the marriage.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

What Is Known As an Ex-Parte Divorce?

When a couple divorces, in most cases the divorce proceeding takes place in the state where the couple lives. However, ...

How to File for Divorce With an Ad in the Newspaper

Although state residency requirements vary somewhat, if you are seeking a divorce, you must typically file a petition ...

How to File for Divorce if I Can't Find My Spouse in New Hampshire

No state forces you to remain married just because you don’t know where your spouse is living. New Hampshire law ...

How Long Do You Have to Be Separated to Get a Divorce in Virginia?

If your marriage is no longer working, you have the option of filing for legal separation or divorce. Unfortunately, in ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED