Can I Submit My Own Affidavit in a Divorce?
Divorce can be an uneasy time for all the parties involved, particularly for those served with the petition to dissolve the marriage. In these situations, people may be left wondering whether their side of the story will be heard by the courts and given the credence it deserves because they were not the first to bring the situation to the judge’s attention.
Until recently, Virginia divorce laws did not explicitly allow both parties to submit their own affidavits testifying to the facts in divorce proceedings. While the impact of the old laws may have varied depending on the circumstances of each individual case, the perception for many was that they may be in an unfavorable position since they were on the defense from the onset of the case.
Fortunately, a change to Virginia’s divorce laws recently took effect on July 1, 2016 allowing all parties in a divorce to have their voices heard from the onset of the petition. Although divorce courts in Virginia always listen to both sides in divorce proceedings and examine the weight of the evidence, the new law can help provide some peace of mind by letting them know they will not have to play catch up.
What Information Goes into a Divorce Affidavit?
Under Virginia Code § 20-106, which Senate Bill 642 made changes to, both parties may now submit evidence on the grounds for a divorce. Until recently, only the petitioner could do so.
Virginia divorce laws hold affidavits may only contain facts that would be admissible in court, give factual support to the claim, and establish that the petitioner is competent to testify in open court. Other information which may be included in a divorce affidavit includes:
- Affirming the allegations in the complaint or counterclaim, including that the parties are over the age of 18 and not suffering from any condition that renders either party legally incompetent
- Affirmation that neither party is incarcerated
- Verify the military status of the opposing party and advise whether the opposing party has filed an answer or a waiver of his rights under the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (50 U.S.C. App § 501 et seq.)
- Affirm that at least one party to the suit is, and has been for a period in excess of six months, a bona fide resident and domiciliary of the Commonwealth
- Affirm that the parties have lived separate and apart, continuously, without interruption and without cohabitation, and with the intent to remain separate and apart permanently, for the statutory period required by subdivision A (9) of § 20-91
- Affirm the affiant’s desire to be awarded a divorce pursuant to subdivision A (9) of § 20-91
Leesburg Divorce Attorneys
If you have been served with a petition for divorce, contact our office for a consultation about your case. The experienced Leesburg divorce attorneys of Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy, PC serve clients throughout the Northern Virginia area including Loudoun, Fairfax, Arlington, and Prince William Counties.