Divorce is complex and stressful. Unless a couple can reach an agreement on their own, a judge will decide the outcome. Finding a great family lawyer in Alexandria will benefit you in the divorce process.
Filing for Divorce
To file for divorce, you must have been a legal resident of Virginia for the last six months. You can file in your resident city or county, or where your spouse resides. If there are no children from the marriage, both spouses must be separated for at least six months prior to filing. This means no physical relations, different sleeping arrangements, and a signed separation agreement.
If there are children involved, the separation must be for one year before filing.
Grounds for Divorce
There must be grounds for a divorce. Virginia is a no-fault state, so the legal “grounds” for filing are very specific. You can read about them here, but we recommend speaking to an attorney before you file, to ensure that your case is solid.
The process will depend on if the divorce is contested or not. Uncontested divorces involve separation, as aforementioned. If there are no children, the couple can file for divorce after six months of separation, with a written separation agreements and outline of property division.
If there are children, the couple must separate for one year, and the separation agreement must include an adequate and fair solution to custody and support of the children.
With a contested divorce, the couple has no separation agreement. If couples can’t agree on things like child custody, property division, and child support, a judge will step in to make those decisions.
Once a couple meets the requirements for filing, the process can begin. The plaintiff files a complaint, and the defend will submit a response either admitting or denying the claims. The accused may also submit a counterclaim. If it uncontested, divorce typically takes two or three months. Contested divorces take around 18-24 months. If no party makes an appeal, contested divorces solidify 30 days after the judge signs the final decree.
There are many decisions to be made during a divorce. Child custody, child support, alimony, property division, debt/asset division, estate planning, IRAs and pensions, just to name a few. This is a very complex process and even the most amiable couples may find it difficult. Having a great family lawyer can help make this process as stress-free and smooth as possible. Even if you plan to use mediation and avoid a court trial, an attorney will be a very valuable asset to your case.
Family Lawyer Alexandria VA
Navigating divorce can be very tricky. But it doesn’t have to destroy your life and ruin your finances. Get a good family lawyer and understand your rights. Contact King, Campbell, Poretz, and Mitchell today to learn more.