Not all divorce cases have to be the drawn-out, bitter, expensive proceedings that you may read about on the news or see on TV shows. In Virginia, there’s a process that may be suitable for couples who can agree on the primary issues involved with divorce. The benefits of uncontested divorce are considerable, but there are strict eligibility requirements you need to understand before you can file. You also need to appreciate the importance of working with a Virginia uncontested divorce attorney. Though you may not expect major disputes, having an experienced lawyer is essential to protecting your rights.
Overview of Virginia’s Uncontested Divorce Laws: Under the statute on divorce proceedings, there is a provision regarding separation agreements that forms the basis for uncontested divorce. The proceeding is one where the parties have been able to reach agreement on all of the key issues involved with a divorce, including:
- How to handle real estate;
- Division of bank, investment, and retirement accounts;
- Splitting up vehicles, personal belongings, and any other property acquired during marriage;
- Accountability for marital debts; and,
- Spousal support.
In addition, you may be able to go through uncontested divorce if you have children, but only under certain circumstances. You and your spouse must agree on custody, visitation, and child support. Plus, the court must approve your agreement to make sure that it’s in compliance with Virginia’s law on the child’s best interests.
Eligibility for Uncontested Divorce: Even if you can reach an agreement on divorce-related issues, there are still qualification rules for uncontested divorce. They are:
- You must both have resided in Virginia for at least six months; and,
- You must have been living separate and apart with the intent to remain permanently separated, for either six months or one year.
The statutory separate period ranges from six months to one year depending on whether you have minor children. Couples with no children will need to comply with the shorter time period, whereas parents must go by the one-year separation requirement for uncontested divorce.
Benefits of the Uncontested Divorce Process: Among the most attractive reasons to take advantage of the uncontested divorce process is having control over the proceedings. You’re not bound by Virginia’s divorce statute, at least with respect to property division and spousal support. You and your spouse can reach an agreement that suits your preferences and lifestyles. Additional benefits include:
- The proceedings move along quickly because there are no hearings where a judge must make a ruling on disputes.
- Though it’s still important to have an attorney to handle important legal tasks, your legal costs will be considerably lower.
- Children generally benefit when their parents are on amicable terms and the divorce process moves quickly.
Consult with a Virginia Uncontested Divorce Lawyer About Your Case
While these basic rules may be useful in determining whether you’re eligible for uncontested divorce, there are subtleties that require assistance from a knowledgeable attorney. To learn more, please contact Leary Law to speak to a member of our team. We can schedule a consultation to review your circumstances at our offices in Manassas or Fairfax, VA.