If you are thinking about getting a divorce and live in Virginia, this article is for you.
There are no set federal rules and regulations for divorce. Divorce laws are set at a local level and every state handles things a little differently.
Below you’ll get an overview of how to get a divorce in Virginia. You’ll get the step-by-step process you need to go through (at a very high level).
If you have any questions, or want to make sure you do everything correctly, hiring a divorce attorney can be a big help.
How To Get A Divorce In Virginia:
1. Meet the Residency Requirements
The first thing you must do to divorce your spouse in Virginia is to meet the residency requirements in the state. The residency requirement in Virginia to file for a divorce is that either you or your spouse must be a resident of the county in which you are filing for divorce for at least six months.
2. Prepare Your Forms
The second prerequisite requirement to file for a divorce is to prepare the forms that the state requires.
Once you meet the residency requirement in the state where the divorce will occur, you must prepare the forms your state requires. This is your first move if you are the plaintiff in the divorce.
The first form to complete is the Complaint for Divorce. Depending on the county where you or your spouse live, you may need additional forms.
In Virginia, there are two types of divorces: “divorced from the bond of matrimony” and “divorced from bed and board.”
A divorce from bed and board separates the couple but they remain legally married. There must be a legal ground for a divorce from bed and board. You can file for a divorce for the following fault grounds:
- Intentional Desertion
- Abuse and cruel treatment
There are no-fault divorce options for couples who have other reasons for separating. Though Virginia is a no-fault divorce state, it differs from other no-fault states because you must meet specific requirements to qualify.
To get a no-fault divorce in Virginia, you need to meet one of these requirements:
- You and your spouse do not have children under 18 and you have been separated for six months under a written separation/property agreement
- You and your spouse have minor children and have been separated for at least a year.
3. File For A Divorce
After preparing your forms, it is time for you to file them if you are the plaintiff. You must file them in the county where you reside.
There is a filing fee to get a divorce in Virginia. However, a divorce filing fee costs depend on your district; use this calculator to find out.
If you cannot afford the filing fee, you may ask for a fee waiver.
If you are the defendant and your spouse filed a divorce against you, you need to respond as quickly as you can. Otherwise, your spouse can get a default/uncontested divorce.
4. Serve Your Forms
If you are the plaintiff, you need to serve your spouse the divorce forms. On the other hand, if you are the defendant, you will be served with divorce forms.
There are a few ways in which divorce forms can be served. These are:
- Sheriff deputy
- Private process service
- Non-party at the age of 18
- Acceptance of Service
However, if you wish to serve your spouse the divorce forms but they are in jail, deployed in the military, or you cannot locate him/her, you may have to try another way of serving your forms. You can try to check with the court clerk about service in these situations.