Has marital discord jeopardized the well-being of your family? If you are hoping to file for divorce in Virginia, you need an experienced family law attorney on your side to guide you through this process. Divorce has been defined as "the ending of a married ordered by a court." Virginia recognizes both fault and no-fault divorce.
Virginia recognizes two types of divorce: a divorce from bed and board in which a husband and wife are legally separated from each other but not permitted to remarry and a divorce from the bond of matrimony, which is a complete divorce. Some individuals like to pursue this option for religious purposes.
Virginia calls legal separation a "limited divorce." In this situation, you are still legally married even though you are legally separated. In order to obtain a limited divorce, you must meet residency requirements, grounds and other laws. These divorces can also involve property settlements, child custody and alimony.
The courts may grant a limited divorce even if you are seeking an absolute divorce. The law requires that a bed and board divorce can only be obtained after certain grounds exist and have been proven to the court. This can include:
A no fault divorce can be obtained if a couple can show that, for more than one year, they have lived separately (in the case of a separation agreement where there is no minor children, this time period is reduced to six months).
While a no fault divorce can be granted these days, fault can still surface when determining spousal support and asset division. In Virginia you can also file for an annulment if you entered into a marriage because of fraud, duress or coercion.
To obtain a divorce in Virginia, either you or your spouse must be a resident of Virginia for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. After you file your papers, your spouse has 21 days (if your spouse lives in Virginia) or 60 days (if you spouse lives outside of Virginia) or 90 days (if your spouse lives outside of the United States) to respond to your request for divorce.
If your spouse does not respond, the court will proceed with the divorce as long as the process has been followed correctly. Whether or not your spouse responds, you and your corroborative witness will have to appear before the court in a hearing scheduled by the clerk. After your witness testifies and you have presented evidence, then your spouse will have the opportunity to do the same.
After the hearing, the court will usually decide within 30 days whether or not to grant a divorce and settlement of marital issues. You can reach a settlement by drawing up a settlement agreement yourselves, via mediation, through negotiation between attorneys, collaborative law or litigation. If you are looking for more answers, check out the Code of Virginia Title 20 Domestic Relations.
If you have questions, we have answers. Divorce is often a confusing process and we understand that you most likely have a lot of questions. During this emotional and often overwhelming time, the worst decision you can make is to not secure competent legal services. Fill out our free case evaluation today!
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