Overview of Uncontested Divorces in Virginia
Couples with or without children may obtain an uncontested divorce in Virginia. Uncontested divorces are generally less expensive and faster than contested divorces and are available to spouses that are able to work through the issues of their divorce together.
If spouses are able to agree on all issues in the divorce, including child custody, visitation and child support, then an uncontested divorce is an expedited option for divorcing spouses. If you are unable to agree with your spouse on any major issue in the divorce, then your divorce is considered contested and you’ll need to attend a trial where a judge will decide the issues remaining in your divorce.
The following is a list of major issues that must be resolved by the spouses before filing an uncontested divorce action in Virginia:
division of real estate and personal property
division of assets and debts
child custody and visitation arrangements if minor children are involved
child support, health and dental insurance coverage
alimony or spousal support, and
any other issues related to your marriage.
Starting the Uncontested Divorce Process in Virginia
To obtain an uncontested divorce in Virginia you must meet the following criteria:
you or your spouse have resided in Virginia for at least 6 months
you and your spouse have agreed on all issues in your divorce
you are seeking a no-fault divorce
child support and spousal support, custody and visitation are not requested, or there is a written agreement signed by both parties resolving those issues, and
you and your spouse are separated and living in separate residences.
If you meet all of the above criteria, you may proceed with your uncontested divorce by filing the required forms as discussed below. The spouse who files the initial paperwork is called the “plaintiff” and the other spouse is the “defendant.”
The Virginia Courts publish a handbook of Basic Virginia Divorce Procedures with information needed to complete the divorce process on your own. If you plan to file for divorce without the help of an attorney, you will be responsible for all the necessary documents in the correct court. Virginia’s circuit courts are courts of general jurisdiction that oversee divorce cases and trials. Virginia’s circuit court system includes 31 judicial districts with 120 separate circuit courts. Some counties have more than one circuit court. Where you live will determine where you file for divorce; although generally, you will file your divorce paperwork in the county where you reside. If you and your spouse live in separate counties within Virginia, either the county in which you live, or where your spouse lives, is where you will file your paperwork.
Preparing the Divorce Forms
The Virginia State Courts offer online forms for completing an uncontested divorce available here and through the various county websites or in hard copy at your local courthouse. The following documents must be filed with your divorce paperwork:
Petition for Divorce
Confidential Identifying Information
Acceptance or Waiver of Service
Hearing Request Form or Request to Have Divorce Heard by Affidavit
Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, and
Decree of Divorce
If you and your spouse have children together under the age of 18, then the following forms must be filed as well:
Child Support Order, and