Just like contested divorce in Virginia, uncontested divorce has its own procedures, rules, and regulations in terms of the procedure.
Filing an uncontested divorce under Virginia Law:
Uncontested divorces are expedients that significantly cut down the draining financial and emotional costs of divorces. It requires the fulfillment of numerous conditions, the main which is both spouses reaching an absolute agreement regarding all divorce processions. A more exhaustive list of stipulations includes:
- Complete agreement over all major decisions governing the termination of the marriage including child custody, visitation frequency, child support, division of real estate and personal property, alimony, and the splitting of accounts.
- Confirming state jurisdiction (both spouses must have lived in Virginia for a minimum of six months)
- Establishing that the divorce is a no-fault divorce
- Required documentation which must be filed throughout the course of the divorce:
- A Bill of Complaint for Divorce (Petition for Divorce)
- A Waiver of Service (for uncontested divorces) for your spouse to sign
- Property Settlement Agreement
- Child support guidelines (Parenting Plan/Financial Affidavit/Child Support Order)
- Hearing Request Form (unless divorce conducted through a deposition)
- Divorce Decree
For proceedings to begin in the state of Virginia, one of the spouses (referred to as the Plaintiff) must file a Bill of Complaint which requires few details. It is necessary to indicate that the divorce is a ‘no-faults’ divorce; meaning there are no grounds/faults, as listed under Virginia legislation, involved in the divorce (adultery, abandonment, criminal conviction, cruelty, willful desertion), and that both spouses have been living separate for a minimum of 6 months (if no child is involved) or one year (if child custody is involved. The defendant is then required to fill an ‘Answer to Complaint’ and sign a ‘Waiver of Services’ indicating that they will not oppose the motion. These forms must be delivered and collected through means of a trusted third party, and not directly by the Plaintiff. This establishes the viability of an uncontested divorce under the court’s jurisdiction. Note that all documents must be notarized and the circuit court should be that of the county of either spouse.
If there is no response from the Defendant within 21 days, the Plaintiff may proceed to a ‘divorce by default’ – unless the spouse is a member of the military.
Once all other documents are filed, a court hearing is needed. Note that the Plaintiff and Defendant may represent themselves if they choose to, although the State of Virginia strongly opposes this even if no conflicts arise. In certain cases, a court hearing is unnecessary, and instead, a deposition in the presence of a qualified witness is possible.
An uncontested divorce will typically take between 30 to 90 days from when a Bill of Complaint is filed to when the divorce decree is received in the state of Virginia. This value greatly depends on the circuit court involved and the decisions made.
Overall, uncontested divorces offer a magnanimous alternative to couples whose priority is a convenience, ease, time, and financial efficiency.