Divorce can put a couple in a challenging financial and emotional situation. Complicated legal procedures, including paperwork preparation, can only make the situation worse.
However, spouses seeking a divorce in Virginia can make this part of the divorce process easier for themselves in two steps. First, they need to negotiate to make their case uncontested. Second, they can prepare their divorce forms online.
Keep reading to learn more about divorce in Virginia and how you can quickly and inexpensively complete your paperwork.
Uncontested Divorce: What Is It?
The divorce becomes uncontested if both spouses agree to get divorced
and reach a consensus regarding marriage-related issues such as alimony (also called spousal support), property division, child custody, child support, etc.
An uncontested divorce is considered a more peaceful way to end a marriage since a couple solves all the issues without a judge’s intervention. However, it does not rule out the need to comply with other state requirements.
Residency requirements in Virginia
At least one of the spouses must have lived in Virginia for six months before filing for divorce
. Moreover, at least one of the spouses must be living in the state at the time of filing.
Members of the Armed Forces can satisfy their residency requirements if stationed in Virginia for at least six months. “Stationed” includes living on a ship in Virginia port or federal air, naval, or military base located in Virginia. In addition, militaries stationed outside Virginia can fulfill residency requirements by proving they lived in Virginia for a minimum of 6 months before joining the assignment.
Grounds for divorce in Virginia
Every couple should state their reason for a dissolution of marriage in legal documents. This reason must be accepted in Virginia.
If spouses want to file for divorce based on no-fault grounds, they only have one option - separation.
The couple must be separated for at least 6 months and enter a separation agreement before filing. However, it only works if there are no minor children in marriage. If spouses have minor children, they must be separated for at least a year.
During the separation, spouses must live apart without cohabitation. The court may also require confirmation that the separation is complete. Sometimes, the judge may ask for witness testimony.
According to local laws, spouses can also file for a fault-based divorce if one of the spouses’ misconduct ruined the marriage. Such grounds include:
● Willful desertion for one year;
● Conviction of a felony.
How to Complete Application for Divorce Online in Virginia
Online divorce is an easy, affordable, and relatively fast way to prepare divorce paperwork. In addition, it can lower the cost of divorce since spouses don’t need to hire a lawyer to complete their forms. However, a divorcing couple can only use this approach if their case is uncontested.
If spouses have a complicated situation with certain disputes involved, they cannot use online tools to generate their divorce papers and should find an experienced attorney.
Many divorce companies in Virginia can help spouses prepare their filings. Some of them can provide legal advice, while others simply offer ready-to-sign forms for an uncontested divorce. Typically, you need to fill out a questionnaire, and then, within a couple of days, you’ll get your papers along with filing instructions.
But how to find a reputable agency where you can get 100% court-approved forms? A simple online search can help you. First, read the About Us section to determine how long the company has been on the market and what it offers. Then, search for reviews and client feedback to see whether customers are satisfied with the services provided.
However, you should remember that online divorce doesn’t mean that you can get a divorce over the internet. It only refers to the paperwork preparation process. Divorce decisions are always granted by judges, not by divorce companies.
DIY Divorce Forms
Spouses also have the opportunity to prepare documents themselves. To do it, they can download blank forms from the Virginia State Judicial System website
and fill them out on their own.
However, it’s pretty challenging to complete divorce paperwork this way without a legal background. Spouses may find outdated forms or fill them out incorrectly. Moreover, not everyone can understand complex legal terms.
At the same time, online divorce questionnaires are composed in such a way that anyone can understand them. As a result, it may take only a few hours to complete the questionnaire versus weeks for do-it-yourself forms.
Once you have prepared and signed all the necessary documents, they must be filed with the court in the county where you or your spouse lives.
At this stage, the petitioner must pay the filing fees. However, if the filing spouse’s financial situation won’t allow it, they can submit a request to waive the fee.
After that, copies of the documents must be delivered to the second party. You have two options to do it. The first one is called “acceptance of service.” It’s when your spouse agrees to accept the divorce papers. The second one is through a neutral third party over the age of 18. You can also hire a deputy sheriff or a private process server.
You should file proof of service along with a copy of the signed separation agreement with the court clerk.
Then, you can request Ore Tenus Hearing. It’s an oral hearing in front of a judge. The plaintiff must appear with a witness to confirm separation. If you meet all legal requirements, the judge can grant a divorce and sign the final divorce decree.
Of course, getting a divorce is not what married couples want. However, it’s not a catastrophe either. Living in an unhappy marriage is!
Today, spouses can reduce the emotional burden and divorce stress if they choose an uncontested path. Unlike contested cases, where spouses have disputes and go through lengthy court battles, uncontested divorce allows them to proceed without an attorney
. Spouses can even use internet divorce tools to complete their legal paperwork faster, easier, and cheaper.