Filing for Divorce in Virginia
50+ Years of Combined Experience Handling Divorce Cases
When you and your spouse choose to get divorced, there are a few initial decisions you will have to make before the process begins. For one, you will need to choose a competent lawyer that can handle contested or uncontested divorces in Fairfax. At Keithley Law, PLLC, we have more than 50 years of combined experience representing all types of divorce cases, including contested and uncontested and fault or no-fault divorces.
Whatever direction your case may take, Keithley Law, PLLC is here to support you. Contact us now! We're ready to handle your contested or uncontested divorce case!
What Are Grounds for Divorce in Virginia?
To file for divorce in Virginia, you must meet the minimum residency requirements. One of the parties must have been a state resident for at least six months prior to filing a divorce petition. You will also need to make sure you meet Virginia's venue provisions for which local court can preside over your divorce. Next, you must have a reason for the divorce or meet the separation period if you're filing for a divorce on no-fault grounds. There are different grounds for divorce in Virginia, but generally, the most common grounds are the following:
- No-fault divorce and having lived separate and apart for at least a year, sometimes even under the same roof, and you're not alleging that the other party is at "fault" for the divorce, just that your marriage is irretrievably broken.
- Physical cruelty
- Abandonment or desertion
- Adultery, sodomy, or buggery
- Felony conviction in very specific circumstances
To help spouses avoid filing for divorce without thinking about the consequences of divorcing, the Virginia Legislature implemented a waiting period, also known as a “cooling-off period” before courts can finalize divorces.
What is the Difference Between Contested & Uncontested Divorce?
A contested divorce is where two parties cannot come to a complete agreement to resolve any issues for a specific situation (property, custody, and support). In an uncontested divorce, both parties can agree on all of the following topics, meaning that the case was fully resolved through a written and signed agreement by both parties and all that's pending is for a judge to decree the parties divorced.
Even if your divorce is contested, your spouse cannot stop you from obtaining a divorce; however, your spouse can delay the process.
What Is the Virginia Divorce Process?
To help you obtain your Final Divorce Decree, in which a court orders you and your spouse finally divorced, you’ll need to do a few things:
- You must file and serve a Complaint (or obtain a written waiver for service) to initiate the divorce and provide a VS-4 statistical form that goes to Virginia's Vital Statistics office.
- If your divorce is contested, you and your spouse will need to go to court to divide your assets and property, decide on spousal support, decide on visitation, custody, and support if you have children. You can negotiate all of these issues if you can get to a fully resolved written agreement signed by both parties.
- To obtain a Final Divorce Decree in an uncontested case, you must provide testimony, making sure the jurisdiction, notice, and waiting periods are met, and you and a corroborating witness answer certain questions in court or through written affidavit regarding the residency, having met the cooling-off period without any reconciliation, and that the service requirements have been met.
- The judge or law clerk will review the items above and if you’ve satisfied all of the elements, a judge will sign the Final Decree of Divorce.
The issues which must be resolved most often in a divorce include:
Will I Have to Go to Court?
A contested, fault-based divorce in Virginia is much more expensive, and time-consuming than an uncontested divorce and no-fault divorce. Contested and fault-based divorces can result in higher court costs, attorney fees, and other expenses. In addition, contested divorces are fought in court which makes it harder for everyone involved, including your children. You may also have to hire experts, including child custody experts, valuation experts, and vocational experts.
Learn About Your Options Today
At Keithley Law, PLLC, our philosophy is to do everything in our power to help our clients obtain the best result possible in a divorce case. Whether you and your spouse can come to an agreement resulting in an uncontested divorce or you have constant conflicts, our contested & uncontested divorce lawyer is here to help guide you. We have built a reputation for our ability to settle divorce cases no matter the complexity. Our firm is committed to making the divorce process as easy on you as possible.