Pursuing a divorce is one of the most life-changing decisions a couple can make. The consequences linger for a lifetime…
Frequently Asked Divorce Law Questions
At Graham Law Firm, PLLC, we frequently receive questions regarding the divorce process and prenuptial agreements. If you’re considering filing for divorce, it’s critical for you to understand some of your options before you move forward.
For answers to more of your questions about divorce proceedings in Virginia, please call Graham Law Firm at 703-687-6817 today.
What is a no-fault divorce?
The law once required at least one spouse to place blame on the other in order to file for a divorce. However, times have changed, and now couples can get a no-fault divorce in all 50 states after living apart uninterrupted for at least 12 months.
A no-fault divorce is when the filing spouse requests a divorce without citing specific blame. Synonyms for a no-fault divorce include irreconcilable differences, incompatibility, and uncontested. You are not required to provide proof that your marriage is beyond repair, and no testimony is necessary to explain what went wrong.
What is the difference between divorce litigation and divorce mediation?
Litigation, the more traditional method of the two, involves filing a lawsuit against your spouse and having a separate lawyer represent each of your cases in front of a judge. This is probably the right option if you need legal advice, your divorce is complicated, or either party has hostility toward the other.
Mediation means a third-party attorney sits down with you and your divorcing spouse to help you craft an agreement for ending your marriage. This process is faster, less expensive, and less emotionally draining than litigation, but it’s only an option if your divorce is simple and neither party is hostile.
How do I file for divorce in the State of Virginia?
If you decide you want a divorce, you must file a document known as a “complaint” with the Virginia Circuit Court in the city or county where you reside and pay the required filing fee. The complaint requires you to provide the following information:
- The date and location of your wedding
- Your and your spouse’s current living situation
- Your and your spouse’s military status
- Proof of a minimum of six months’ residency in the state
- Grounds for filing for divorce (plus satisfaction of the separation period if filing for no-fault divorce)
- Ages and living arrangements of your children, if applicable
Finally, you must arrange to have a sheriff or private process server deliver the complaint and a court summons to your spouse.
How long does divorce take in Virginia?
The fastest option is to file a no-fault divorce where both parties agree to the terms of separation and have no significant disagreements about the division of assets, debts, child custody, and more. After living apart for one year, you can file your complaint and expect processing to be completed in as little as six to eight weeks.
At-fault divorces—where each spouse has a different idea about who deserves which assets, debts, custody, and more—take more time. The court must work out your case in the fairest way possible, which may take months or longer.
What are grounds for divorce in Virginia?
The two primary grounds for divorce in Virginia are no-fault and at-fault. As discussed above, a no-fault divorce is when the couple has irreconcilable differences and simply no longer wants to be together. An at-fault divorce means one spouse has a valid, provable reason he or she wants to end the marriage, such as adultery, abuse, abandonment, or conviction of a felony.
Should I get a prenuptial agreement?
More middle-class Americans are choosing to get prenuptial agreements before they get married. This option might make sense for you and your future spouse if:
- There’s a possibility one of you might stop working in the future to care for children, go back to school, or for another reason.
- One or both of you have children from previous relationships (a prenup helps ensure each biological child receives benefits in the event of their parent’s death).
- One of you owns a business or you co-own a business together.
- One of you brings significantly more assets or debt into the marriage than the other.
To schedule a consultation with a divorce lawyer in Northern Virginia, please contact Graham Law Firm today.