Virginia’s uncontested divorce process may sound appealing, especially if you fear that your divorce case will drag on for months and require several contentious court hearings. But uncontested divorce is not an option for every divorcing couple. Trying to pursue an uncontested divorce in Virginia in some situations can take up more time, require more court hearings, and end up being more contentious than if you pursued a traditional divorce proceeding at the outset.
Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce
The uncontested divorce process is an opportunity to obtain a divorce without relying on the court to hear evidence and make decisions about how your property is divided or the schedule according to which you and your spouse will have custody of your children. Instead, you and your spouse decide these issues amongst yourselves and the court merely adopts your agreement as a court order.
Uncontested divorces in Virginia, then, can give you greater control over what happens in your divorce and allow you to obtain a divorce more quickly than the traditional process. Not only this, but oftentimes your expenses in an uncontested divorce will be less than those you would incur going through a traditional, contested divorce.
Is Uncontested Divorce Right for You?
An uncontested divorce is not an option for everyone. Aside from the requirement that either you or your spouse needs to have been a resident of Virginia for at least six months before filing, there are other requirements that must be met. In particular, you may need to proceed with a traditional, contested divorce if either of the following apply:
You and your Spouse Cannot Agree on Issues
By its very name, uncontested divorces are where you and your spouse agree on how the major issues should be decided. If the two of you cannot speak constructively with each other or reach agreements with one another, uncontested divorce may not be a viable option for you.
You and Your Spouse Are Still Living Together or Sleeping Together
If you are seeking a no-fault divorce (that is, a divorce because of incompatibility), then Virginia law requires that you and your spouse be separated for at least one year before filing for divorce. Living separated from your spouse means that the two of you are not living under the same roof and are not engaging in sexual intercourse.
If you and your spouse have not lived apart and refrained from sexual intercourse with each other for one year, a no-fault uncontested divorce would not be available to you. If you do not have any children in common with your spouse, you still must live separately and refrain from sexual intercourse for six months before filing for a no-fault uncontested divorce.
You are Seeking a Fault-Based Divorce
Instead of a no-fault divorce, you can seek to show that your spouse engaged in bad conduct like adultery or abuse and that you should receive a divorce as a result. There may be advantages to showing that one or more of these fault-based grounds exist. However, you cannot proceed with an uncontested divorce if you seek to do so.
Get Professional and Experienced Help with Your Virginia Uncontested Divorce
With experience in preparing and filing the necessary forms and guiding your case through the court system, qualified legal counsel can help you obtain an uncontested divorce expeditiously. Speak with AC Rieman Law about your situation. Our Virginia uncontested divorce lawyer will work with you and your spouse to finalize your uncontested divorce quickly and with minimal inconvenience.