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  • Writer's pictureBrian

What If My Wife Won’t Sign Divorce Papers In Virginia?

Updated: Feb 12, 2023

We actually get this question with some regularity. To answer the question directly – it does not matter and she does not have to sign divorce papers in Virginia. Now that we have answered the question, let's go into more details if you are interested.

In a nutshell, there are two "types" of divorce in Virginia - contested and uncontested divorces. A thumbnail difference between the two is whether the parties have a written separation agreement. If they do and there is nothing left for the Court to decide, you can get an uncontested divorce in Virginia by filing the paperwork, having your wife sign a waiver/acceptance of service of the divorce Complaint, and then submit the final decree with some other necessary documents for the Judge to sign off on to finalize your divorce. To answer the next question - no you do not actually have to come to Court to get divorced as everything can be done by paperwork.

Now for this to happen, yes your wife has to sign a separation agreement. So let's go to the next logical question - what happens if my wife signs a separation agreement but does not want to sign any of the Court documents? There is a solution for that as well. If she will not, for whatever reason, sign the Court paperwork to finalize the divorce then it gets served upon her and the process follows litigation deadlines. If after twenty-one (21) days your wife does not respond to the Complaint, then we notice (file a Motion for a divorce hearing with the Court) for entry of the Final Decree of Divorce. This is a hearing that you can also skip, however, we like to have our clients present (1) in case the Court has any questions about the divorce and (2) so our clients are actively involved in the process. If your wife does not respond to the paperwork and continues to play ostrich or just make life difficult, then we will ask the Court to enter the Final Decree of Divorce.

The next and hopefully last logical question is what if we do not have a written Separation Agreement? Well the answer is the same - no your wife does not have to sign divorce paperwork in Virginia. The process is similar to the one in the paragraph above but it takes a little bit longer. Each Court has a different process for this type of situation but basically you have to have a "mini" divorce hearing where you and your witness(es) will have to testify as to those things at issue whether it is custody, money, debt, etc. The hearing should not take long but it just has to be a little more formal given that the Court technically has to rule on everything. There are deadlines that have to be followed. For example, the divorce is filed, she is served with a copy of the Complaint and she has twenty-one (21) calendar days after being served to respond. If she does not respond, we notice (set) a hearing like in the previous paragraph and ask the Court to enter the divorce. The big difference aside from the procedure is that you have to wait one (1) calendar year from the date of separation to file the divorce.

This is merely a partial list of benefits and is not designed to be all-inclusive. There are answers that are situation specific. For your particular matter, I recommend contacting a competent family law attorney to ask your questions.

We hope that this answered your question about whether your wife has to sign divorce papers in Virginia. If it did not, feel free to give us a call at 757-454-2110 or use the Contact Form at to set up a free consultation with a lawyer about your situation.

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

Also we have other blog posts about divorce and the divorce process. Feel free to read them and if you have questions let us know!

If you have questions as to whether a separation agreement is required in Virginia. If so, please read this Blog post. You may also have another question about whether you can write your own separation agreement. If so, please read this Blog post.

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 either call or text us at 757-454-2110. 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.

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.

/s/ Brian

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