You do have to go to court to file for a divorce. However, there are ways to get the divorce which don’t require you to appear in front a judge.
Do I have to be separated from my spouse to get divorced?
That depends on the grounds for your divorce. If you are filing for divorce on a “fault” ground, then you do not need to be separated from your spouse. However, if you file for a “no-fault” divorce, then you do have to be separated for a specific period of time (see below).
What is the difference between fault and no-fault?
As the names suggest, the difference between a fault divorce and a no-fault divorce is whether one of the spouses is found to be legally at fault for the divorce. If you wish to obtain a fault-based divorce, you will have to prove that your spouse committed a specific act that entitles you to a divorce. If you file for a no-fault divorce, you must be separated from your spouse for 12 months prior to filing for divorce, or six months if you sign a settlement agreement and do not have any children. In a no-fault divorce, you do not need to prove that your spouse caused the divorce.
What is the difference between contested and uncontested?
If you file for an uncontested divorce, you are telling the court that there are no issues for the court to decide, and that all you are asking is for the court to enter a divorce decree. This means that you and your spouse agree on the grounds for divorce, and if applicable, custody, child support, spousal support, and division of property. If you and your spouse do not agree on any of these points, then your case will be considered a contested divorce. Note that a case can begin as a contested divorce and be changed into an uncontested divorce if you reach an agreement while the case is pending.
How long will it take for me to get a divorce?
This depends primarily on whether your case is contested or uncontested, and which county you file in. However, an uncontested case can take as little as three months, while a contested case can take between one and two years.
Where do I file for divorce?
As long as you and/or your spouse have lived in Virginia for at least six months prior to filing for divorce, then you can file in any Circuit Court in Virginia.
If I don’t use a lawyer, will it cost me any money to get divorced?
Yes, unless you file for a waiver of the filing fee. The filing fee is currently $86.00.
Does my spouse have to agree with the divorce?
No. As long as you can prove the grounds for divorce, regardless of whether they are fault or no-fault, then you will be granted a divorce.
To learn more about getting a divorce in Virginia, contact me at (571) 418-1985 or email@example.com to schedule a consultation.