How does an Uncontested Divorce Work in Virginia?
While no divorce is easy, an uncontested divorce is typically far more amicable as both spouses have agreed to resolve all issues in their marriage and forego the stress and expense of preparing for a trial in front of a judge. As you might expect, uncontested divorces are usually less expensive and typically resolve faster.
Married couples in Virginia can opt for uncontested divorce whether or not they have children, provided they are able to agree on each and every aspect of the divorce, including child support and visitation. If there is even one major sticking point you can’t agree on, it’s considered a contested divorce and you will need to schedule a trial before a judge who will decide on any remaining issues in order to finalize your divorce.
Major Aspects that Must Be Resolved
If you’re curious what issues must be resolved in order to qualify for an uncontested divorce, these are the most crucial ones:
- Division of assets and debts
- Division of real estate and other personal property
- If there are minor children, then custody and visitation arrangements
- Child support if applicable
- Health and dental coverage for minor children
- Spousal support or alimony
Requirements to File an Uncontested Divorce
Whether or not your divorce is uncontested, all parties who want to start a divorce proceeding in Virginia must meet the residency requirements. One spouse must be a verifiable resident for at least six months before the complaint is filed. It can be filed in the city or county where you both last resided, the county or city where the defendant lives (provided the defendant is the resident), or in the city or county where the plaintiff lives if the other spouse is not a resident of Virginia.
You must be filing for a no-fault divorce in order to proceed with an uncontested divorce. This means you are not filing for divorce based on the wrongdoing of either spouse; however, there are additional requirements that must be met. In addition to residence, you and your spouse must have lived apart for more than one year if you have minor children. If you have no minor children, you must be living apart for more than six months and have a formal separation agreement.
Couples must also have a written agreement detailing child support, visitation and custody, and spousal support showing all these issues have been resolved.
Preparing for the Divorce
Even uncontested divorces can be overwhelming to people who don’t deal with these legal matters on a daily basis. While you can, in theory, handle your own uncontested divorce, it’s not recommended. What if the other party changes his or her mind and you are suddenly preparing for a trial with no legal representation? If you are preparing to file for divorce, you need a skilled Leesburg divorce attorney. Contact the team at Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC to schedule a consultation. Let us help ensure all documents are filed timely and you are receiving a fair and equitable settlement in your divorce.