Uncontested Divorce in Virginia
Updated: Feb 19
Quite often we get asked questions about having an uncontested divorce in Virginia. While those questions are typically easy to answer, it got us to thinking – if we are seeing a pattern of similar questions why not Post to attempt to answer some of the most common questions. Hopefully this Post does that. If not, feel free to call us for a Consultation to talk about your divorce.
How do you get an uncontested divorce in Virginia?
The first step to get an uncontested divorce in Virginia is to file a Complaint for divorce. That is the first step in any divorce to be honest with you so there is no news here. But if you want to know the first step then that is it.
Now outside of the court process there is a first step that I recommend to our clients. The easiest way to get an uncontested divorce in Virginia is to first discuss with your spouse how you want your divorce to go. Talk about your finances, your bills, your assets, your retirement and decide who is responsible for the specifics. Don’t forget about the kids – make sure that you include custody, visitation and child support. Honestly there are quite a few things to consider when negotiating an agreement. We can’t post a comprehensive list because each case is different. We have prepared a worksheet to help our clients consider as much as possible when working out an agreement.
The time frame to get an uncontested divorce in Virginia varies based upon several factors. The first factor to consider is whether the parties have a separation agreement and whether there are minor children. One factor to consider in getting an uncontested divorce in Virginia is if the parties do not have any children under the age of eighteen and have a written separation agreement. If both of these are there, then a divorce can be filed after six months of living separate and apart from each other.
So what happens if both factors are not met? How do you get an uncontested divorce in Virgina? Well, the process is similar but there are some important distinctions. First, if there is no written agreement you have to wait one (1) year after separation to get an uncontested divorce in Virginia. A lot can happen during that one year which is why we suggest that you get an agreement with your spouse as soon as possible after separation. Second, if there are children under the age of eighteen of the marriage or adopted during the marriage, then you cannot get a divorce until you have been separated for one year as well. If there is not written agreement, it could very easily turn into a contested divorce. By this I mean that the Court has to decide something, anything related to the marriage. This could result in a lengthy and costly process to be candid. That is why for uncontested divorces I recommend at least trying to get an agreement.
Now here is the important part that people tend to overlook or misunderstand as it pertains to an uncontested divorce in Virginia. The six months or one year requirement is mandatory, and it is from the separation of the parties. It is NOT from the date of the separation agreement. The calculation is from the date that the married couple separated, and it was the intent of at least one of the parties to make that separation permanent.
How long does an uncontested divorce take in Virginia?
There is no good answer to the question of how long an uncontested divorce takes in Virginia. I’m sorry but there just isn’t a standard or set time frame. The length of time that it takes varies from case to case and from city to city. Some of the factors that go into the length of time it takes to finalize an uncontested divorce include the time it takes the Court to process the Complaint for divorce, how long it takes your spouse to sign an Acceptance of Service and Waiver, and then how long it takes to get the Final Decree of Divorce to the Court.
So, let’s say that you have submitted all of the necessary paperwork for the uncontested divorce including the Final Decree and you have delivered all of that to the Court. Then what happens? Well, every Divorce Decree goes to Chambers (the judges’ offices) for it to be reviewed. At that point it depends on how busy the Court is for it to be reviewed and processed. If everything is correct, the staff attorney will present the Final Decree for the Court to sign and then it is signed. After the Court signs the Final Decree of Divorce it will be transmitted to the Clerk’s office and then you should be mailed a copy of the Final Decree.
Now what happens if the Court notices an error in your uncontested Final Decree of Divorce? Well, the Decree will be rejected, sent to the Clerk’s office and then mailed back to you with a Correction Notice. This is a list of the items that need to be changed in the Final Decree of Divorce. That will then require you to redo the Final Decree, submit it to the Court, wait for it to be reviewed and then you will find out if there is another change to make or if you are divorced.
How much does an uncontested divorce cost in Virginia?
This varies. There are mandatory Court costs of about $90 or so for filing fees. This is a fixed cost. After that, well the cost of an uncontested divorce in Virginia will vary depending on what needs to be done. There may be service of process fees which normally runs about $12. After that, it really depends on if you are doing the divorce yourself or if you have hired an attorney. Different lawyers charge different amounts, so it is really hard to give you a cost estimate. The best thing to do is talk with the attorney and ask what the cost is for handling your uncontested divorce.
Do I have to go to court for an uncontested divorce in Virginia?
Nope. Virginia has a procedure for an uncontested divorce where the moving party for divorce can submit an affidavit with the paperwork There are times when the Court may want the moving party to come to Court to testify for a reason. Usually, it is for clarification of an issue and is not particularly common.
If you have more questions or want to speak with me, you can always visit our Home page by clicking on this link to read more or to set up a free consultation with a lawyer. You can also call or text us at 757-231-9552. We also have on our site an online consultation form. Again, our initial consultation with a lawyer about your case is free so it costs you nothing to call and ask your questions.
For more information, feel free to visit our exclusive family law site for information on divorce, separation, child custody, child visitation, spousal support and child support at BrianThomasson.com. You can also visit our Uncontested Divorce page.
And do not forget to scroll to the bottom as there may be related posts that answer other questions that you have or did not think of when you found this post. Thank you for reading this and I appreciate your time.
You can always call or text us at 757-231-9552.
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