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How Long Does It Take to Finalize a Divorce in Virginia?

Posted on: May 25, 2017

Divorce can be an extensive, difficult process to endure. It can be a relatively quick procedure if both parties can agree on the terms of separation and avoid going to court. But if the two parties cannot agree, the number of steps to take grows. Even in no-fault settlement cases, you want to take time to ensure that the terms are executed favorably.

The choice to begin the divorce process can be overwhelming and the prospect of a months-long procedure to finalize it is even more daunting. Our award-winning team of lawyers at Graham Law Firm, PLLC ishere to help ease the process.

Read on to learn more about the timeline of divorce, or contact us today by calling (703) 443-9360 if you’re looking for a divorce lawyer in Virginia.

How Long is the Uncontested Divorce Process in Virginia?

An uncontested divorce means you and your spouse agree on the terms of separation and have no major qualms with the division of assets, debts, custody, and more. In the state of Virginia, it is required that you live apart from your spouse for at least a year before you can file for uncontested divorce (six months if you have no minor children as well as a signed separation agreement). Legal separation is defined by physical separation, as well as the intent to be separated.

In an uncontested divorce, you can choose to avoid going to court by requesting to have your divorce heard by affidavit, rather than by a court hearing. This can speed up the process; however, the actual timeline depends on the schedule of the judge who is assigned to your case. You will submit a written deposition that recaps your case, which will be reviewed and subsequently submitted to a judge for approval.

Exactly how long a Virginia uncontested divorce takes from the initial filing after the separation period is satisfied to finalization depends on how quickly you reach a settlement and how long the court takes to process your case. If you and your spouse have few or no qualms in your terms of separation, your case could be processed within six to eight weeks.

How Long Is the Virginia Contested Divorce Process?

Contested, or “fault,” divorce tends to take more time. Grounds for divorce in contested causes include:

  • Adultery
  • Cruelty or bodily hurt
  • Felony conviction
  • Willful desertion/abandonment

Each ground for fault requires proof. This is inherently more complicated but may be beneficial in cases involving contested alimony or marital property. Our experienced attorneys are here to help clarify the process and answer any questions you may have.

If you and your spouse signed a prenuptial agreement, this may simplify the division of property, as well as the terms of alimony. A prenuptial agreement can acknowledge child custody but won’t necessarily be enforced if a family court judge decides it is no longer applicable in the circumstances presented before the court.

In the discovery phase of a contested divorce, you and your spouse will exchange information, often in the form of a deposition. Depositions are executed under oath and may be accepted by the court as evidence. This evidence will help the court decide the terms of separation.

The length of your Virginia contested divorce will depend on the judge’s schedule, as well as your specific circumstances. You will have to take time for discovery and subsequently present your individual argument to the judge. If your division of property or custody is highly involved, the process leading up to your court date will likely be more extensive.

Divorce Lawyers in Virginia

Contact us online today to schedule a consultation with one of our Virginia divorce lawyers. To learn more about Virginia divorce laws or the legal services that we offer, feel free to reach us over the phone at (703) 443-9360.

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