Finding yourself in a position where you need to seek divorce is never easy. The stress you have experienced may be considerable. But now that you have reached this point, you are probably ready to move forward with your decision as quickly as possible.
How simple your divorce will be depends on you, your spouse and the circumstances of your marriage. In Virginia, the simplest way to end a marriage is to seek an uncontested divorce. To be uncontested, you and your spouse must come to an agreement on all aspects of the divorce – including the need for a divorce, how your property will be divided up and what will happen with your children if you have any.
If you are in a situation where emotions are high, you have significant property or you expect a fight over custody issues, you should seek the help of an experienced divorce attorney. But if you are fortunate enough to be seeking an uncontested divorce, you may qualify to process your own divorce online by filling out and submitting the required divorce papers to your county clerk. CompleteCase.com helps make this process even easier, allowing you to find divorce forms for your specific situation, and ensuring that those forms are filled out correctly from the start.
Data from 2011 presented by Centers for Disease Control (CDC), indicates that the divorce rate in Virginia in 2011 was 3.8 for every 1,000 residents. Compared to other states, the divorce rate in Virginia sits somewhere in the middle.
Virginia allows fault and no-fault divorce. There are several grounds that allow for an at-fault divorce where you can state that your spouse is responsible for the ending of the marriage. These include adultery and conviction of a felony that results in imprisonment for at least one year. Most divorcing couples choose to seek a no-fault divorce, where the need for divorce comes from irreconcilable differences, or a marriage that is “irretrievably broken”. Virginia requires that at least one spouse be a resident of the state for six months before filing for divorce.
It is important to be certain that you and your spouse meet the requirements of an uncontested divorce in Virginia before you begin filling out your divorce papers. These requirements include:
If you meet all of these criteria, you can begin obtaining the required Virginia divorce papers and filling them out. You will need to seek your documentation and file with the county where you or your spouse reside. You may be able to find a website for your county court, or you may have to make a trip to the court to obtain hard copies of the documents.
You should expect to fill out a number of forms, including the Petition for Divorce, Confidential Identifying Information, Hearing Request Form or Request to Have Divorce Heard by Affidavit, Summons and more. Make sure to review your county website thoroughly, or discuss your needs with the county clerk, to ensure you fill out all the right forms.
To simplify the often confusing process, many couples in Virginia seek the assistance of online divorce paper preparation services. CompleteCase.com is the long-time leader for online divorce papers in Viriginia. Our service identifies the forms required for your circumstance and our experts provide the assistance required to fill out the forms completely and accurately. With CompleteCase.com you will have the confidence knowing that your divorce will be processed without unessary delays or added costs.
When you have identified the county court you will file with and you have completed your Virginia divorce papers online or otherwise, you can present them to your county clerk. You will want to make copies of your documents – one for your records, one to give to your spouse and one to present to the clerk. Some forms may need to be notarized, so it is best to wait until you get to the court to sign the documents. Most courts have a notary public on hand that you can use, although you should call ahead to verify.
Virginia offers aCircuit Court Civil Filing Fee Calculator, where you can determine what your state filing fee will be. If you do not have the money for the fee, you may be able to get the fee waived. You will need to complete a Petition For Proceeding in Civil Case Without Payment of Fees or Costs, and have it approved, to have the fee waived.
Virginia requires that your spouse receive copies of the divorce papers. This “service of process” can be accomplished ins several ways. If he or she will agree to take the paperwork, your spouse can complete an Acceptance of Service form, which must be given to the court. Otherwise, you can have a deputy sheriff or a private process server company deliver the documents, or you can post the documents on the residence of your spouse. You can also serve one of your spouse's family members, as long as he or she is over 16-years-old.
When all your divorce documents have been submitted, you and your spouse will need to attend a final hearing. This hearing is known as an Ore Tenus Hearing, where you bring copies of your divorce documents and a witness. The judge will listen to the testimony of you and your witness, and if everything is satisfactory, he or she will sign the divorce decree.