Steps in a Virginia Divorce
“Virginia is for lovers” is the slogan millions of people have come to know since 1969. It has been the official tourism slogan of Virginia since its debut. But, living in Virginia does not exempt you from having marital problems. If you are considering filing for divorce in Virginia it is important to know the steps involved so nothing comes as a surprise. You will also want to speak with an experienced divorce attorney as soon as you decide about your future, so you can get the process started.
Proving Virginia Residency
It is required under Virginia law that the spouse who is asking for the divorce has lived in the commonwealth for at least six months before filing. You will need to provide proof of your residency by visiting the Circuit Court that has jurisdiction over where you live in Virginia. After you have provided proof of residency, you can file for divorce in the same Circuit Court.
Figure Out Eligibility for an Uncontested Divorce
If you and your spouse agree on most or all of the important issues that must be resolved, you may be able to seek an uncontested divorce. These issues may include alimony, child support, child custody, division of assets, division of debts, and who keeps the family home. Agreeing on these items does not automatically qualify you for an uncontested divorce.
If there are minor children in the marriage, you and your spouse must have lived apart for at least one year. If there are no common children between you, the requirement to live apart from each other is just six months. Both of these cases require you to have a separation agreement in place prior to filing for the divorce.
Requirements Needed to Have the Divorce Heard
After you have confirmed you meet the requirements mentioned in the previous sections, you can file a bill of complaint with the appropriate Circuit Court. This document should include all of the following information:
- Residency information for both spouses;
- Date and location of original marriage;
- Names and dates of birth for all children who are minors;
- A statement, in writing, that says both of you are at least 18 and of sound mind;
- Proof of military service (if applicable);
- A statement, in writing, that both spouses are not incarcerated;
During this stage of the divorce process, you will also need to file a Form VS-4 with the Circuit Court. A case number will be assigned once the necessary forms have been filed.
Notify the Other Spouse
You must provide notice to your spouse about the divorce filing. When you provide the other spouse with a service of process, you must do it in the following manner:
- Copy of the complaint
- Court summons
- Any other documents filed with the court
You can serve your spouse the divorce notice by asking a third party to do so, such as the county sheriff, or you can do it yourself. Your spouse has 21 days from receipt of the paperwork to file their answer with the Circuit Court.
Choose Divorce Hearing Option
You can now choose how you want the divorce proceedings to be heard; oral hearing with a judge or divorce by deposition. If you choose a hearing, you will need to provide evidence of all the claims you made in the complaint filed with the Circuit Court. If you choose divorce by deposition, it means that one spouse cannot attend a hearing or that both of you have agreed on the important items that need to be divided or decided on related to alimony, child custody, child support and more.
Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney Today
Are you ready to file for divorce in Virginia? Have you tried everything possible to save your marriage? If so, it’s time to speak to an experienced divorce attorney about your situation. Now that you know the steps involved in a Virginia divorce, call the office of St. John, Bowling, Lawrence & Quagliana, LLP at 434-296-7138 to schedule an appointment. You can also complete the contact form found on our website and someone will reach out to you as soon as possible to schedule your consultation.