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  • John C. Whitbeck, Jr.


    John C. Whitbeck, Jr. practices in the following areas of law: Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Mediation, Arbitration, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Criminal Law, DUI/DWI, Reckless Driving, All Felonies, All Misdemeanors, Juvenile Crimes, Mental Health Law, Civil and Business Litigation, Construction Litigation, Education Law, Election Law, Debt Collection, Consumer and Lemon Law.

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  • Ruth M. McElroy


    Ruth M. McElroy practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Pre and Post Marital Agreements, Domestic Violence, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Juvenile Crimes, Felony and Misdemeanor Crimes, Traffic Offenses, Debt Collection, Civil and Business Litigation. She serves the Virginia Court system as a Guardian ad litem.

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  • Jennifer D. Cisneros


    Jennifer D. Cisneros practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Juvenile Crimes, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Estate Planning, Wills and Probate, Trusts, Civil and Business Litigation and Debt Collection.

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No-Fault vs. Uncontested Divorce in Virginia: What’s the Difference?


Fault-grounds and no-fault divorce, contested and uncontested divorce. Yes, for someone who goes through the divorce process for the first time in his or her life, all these different types of divorces in Virginia can be confusing.

Contrary to popular belief, no-fault and uncontested divorce are not the same. Luckily, we have a Leesburg divorce attorney to clarify your confusion. Contact our family law lawyers at Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy, PC, to determine what is the most appropriate type of divorce for your circumstances.

What is an Uncontested Divorce in Virginia?

First things first. What is an uncontested divorce, and what makes it different from a no-fault divorce? You are eligible to file for an uncontested divorce when you and your departing spouse agree to the terms of the annulment of your marriage.

In particular, you and your soon-to-be former spouse must agree on every aspect, such as:

  • Child custody
  • Child and visitation
  • Alimony
  • Property distribution
  • Child support
  • Financial divisions

An uncontested divorce is when both sides agree to live apart (the waiting period) for six months if you have no children or a year if you share kids and then file for divorce. Needless to say, an uncontested divorce is the most favorite type of divorce for Virginia judges. Essentially, an uncontested divorce means that the judge must simply approve whatever you have agreed to.

A contested divorce is when two spouses disagree on the terms of their separation. The contention could be over any aspect of a divorce, including child custody, property division, alimony, or other issues.

What is a No-Fault Divorce?

Virginia law recognizes that neither spouse has to admit their blame for the dissolution of the marriage. A no-fault divorce is when neither spouse accepts fault or blames their spouse for destroying the marriage and instead gets a divorce based on just the length of separation as in an uncontested divorce.

A divorce has fault grounds if either spouse accuses the other of the following wrongdoing:

  • Adultery
  • Sodomy outside of marriage
  • Buggery outside of marriage
  • Cruelty
  • Desertion
  • Abandonment
  • Incarceration for a year

If neither spouse is to blame, the two of you must agree to run out the clock (six months if you have no kids or a year if you have children), file for divorce, and declare that neither party was at fault. This is a no-fault divorce.

Difference Between an Uncontested and No-Fault Divorce

As you may have guessed, a divorce can be both no-fault and uncontested, just like it can be fault-grounds and undisputed. Another possible combination is a no-fault and contested divorce, or a contested, fault-grounds divorce.

An example of a contested fault-grounds divorce would be if one of the spouses committed adultery, and both spouses fail to agree on the terms of their divorce. An example of a no-fault, uncontested divorce is if both parties agree that it is time to get divorced without any accusations of fault, and both agree on terms.

As you can see, an uncontested divorce is not the same as a no-fault divorce in Virginia. If you cannot decide what you want to file for, consult our Leesburg divorce attorney from Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy, PC. Call at 703-997-4982 to determine the most appropriate type of divorce for you.


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