Virginia Divorce Process Requirement
If you are going through a divorce in Virginia, you may be wondering how to go about it. First, you need to be aware of the Virginia divorce laws; therefore, you need proper legal counsel.
When a married couple knows for sure that their marriage has irreparably broken down and there is no point in continuing with the relationship, either of the spouses’ may file for a divorce in Virginia.
There are a number of laws pertaining to a divorce and it is critical that you make sure that the process is completed in a just and fair manner. To file for a divorce in Virginia, you need to be a resident of the state for at least six months before filing.
In an uncontested divorce, both spouses agree unanimously that there is no point in continuing with the marriage and that it must come to an end as it is impossible to reconcile. For an uncontested divorce in Virginia, a couple needs to be separated at least for a year before filing the request. When there are no children born out of the marriage, this period may be reduced to six months. Also, the couple will need to sign a Separation Agreement.
It is an official document where the spouses resolve any issues that may come up during the divorce. Issues covered in the separation agreement include:
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Property Division
- Insurance (Life, Health, etc.)
- Legal Fees
The time period taken to finalize an uncontested divorce can be anywhere between one and three months after the divorce has been filed.
A contested dissolve bonds of matrimony in Virginia takes place when the couple cannot come to an agreement on any of the issues that led to the dissolve bonds of matrimony. The spouse wishing to file for a contested dissolve bonds of matrimony is not required to be separated but must have legal grounds to file for a dissolve bonds of matrimony.
Legal grounds for contested dissolve bonds of matrimony in Virginia are:
- Adultery: It means one spouse is sexually involved with another individual not being his or her spouse.
- Abuse: It encompasses sexual, physical or mental abuse within the household.
- Conviction: Wherein the spouse is found guilty of a crime and is sentenced to prison.
- Desertion/Abandonment: Either of the spouses willfully leaves the marital household with the intention of ending the marriage.
The dissolution of marriage process in Virginia begins with either spouse filing a complaint to the court that states that the case meets the residency requirement, the date and location of the marriage, the names and birth dates of any minor children and the grounds for the dissolution of marriage. Then the complaint filing spouse will have to serve the complaint to the other spouse. The defendant is then required to file an answer to the complaint and can also file any defense to the claims and counterclaims as well.
During the trial, the judge will decide on issues that are related to the dissolution of marriage, based on the information presented before the court such as alimony, the division of marital property, child custody, visitation, child support and insurance.
A contested dissolution of marriage in Virginia can take up to one and half years from the date the case is filed to be decided. If there are no appeals, a contested dissolution of marriage in Virginia is termed to be finalized within 30 days after the judge signs the decree.
If you need help with a dissolution of marriage in Virginia, call and speak to one of our dissolution of marriage lawyers.