It is rarely an easy decision to decide to get a divorce. However, the process can go smoothly and be less costly if you and your spouse agree on all the issues in your divorce and decide to file an uncontested divorce. Otherwise, you would need to have grounds to file an at-fault divorce and could be involved in a lengthy property or custody fight.
Even if you are planning to file a no-contest divorce, you and your partner should retain your own attorneys to protect your rights. It is also a good idea to understand the process when filing this type of divorce, so you know what to expect.
Steps in an Uncontested Divorce
In order to file a no-contest divorce, you will need to agree on all the issues in your divorce. Here are the issues that you will need to resolve:
- Division of your real estate, financial accounts, and other property
- Division of marital debts
- Child custody and parenting time if you have children together
- Child support
If you and your spouse reach an agreement, you will still need to follow the requirements under Virginia law in order to obtain a divorce. You must have been separated for at least six months if you have no children and 12 months if you have children together. Here are steps you will need to complete:
- File a complaint. The first step is to file a complaint for divorce in the circuit court in the county where you or your spouse reside. You will need to pay the court filing fee when you file it.
- Serve complaint. Once the complaint has been filed, you will need to pay the local sheriff or a process server to serve the complaint on your partner.
- Sign waiver of notice. You can speed up the process of finalizing your divorce significantly if your spouse signs a waiver of notice that is filed with the court. The notice informs the judge that they have no objection to your request for a divorce.
- Prepare property settlement agreement. The next step is to prepare a property settlement agreement that outlines your agreement with your spouse on how to split your property and debts, child custody and support, and spousal support. You and your spouse would need to sign the agreement. It is best to have it drafted by an experienced family law attorney.
- Attend a court hearing. The last step in the process of obtaining an uncontested divorce is to schedule a court hearing where your divorce would be granted by the judge. You may be able to avoid attending any court hearing by obtaining a divorce through the filing of an affidavit.
Are you planning to file for divorce in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Call our Norfolk office to schedule a free initial consultation to learn how our knowledgeable family law lawyers can help you so that your rights are protected and your divorce is finalized as smoothly as possible.