What to Know About Virginia Uncontested Divorce

A divorce need not be a battle between the spouses. Putting aside the anger and feelings of betrayal may not be easy, but it can help bring down the cost of ending the marriage and take less of an emotional and physical toll on the parties. An uncontested divorce gives couples the ability to work out the financial and child custody issues through negotiations rather leaving them to be resolved by a judge at trial.

Allowing their divorce lawyers to work out a separation agreement leading to a no-fault divorce in Virginia may be the best way for couples living in Poquoson, Newport News or other parts of the Virginia Peninsula to settle their differences and move on with their lives. The following information about obtaining a divorce without the delays of a trial or multiple court appearances can help couples decide on the best course of action to take.

Advantages to Resolving Issues and Avoiding a Contested Divorce

By the time the conversation turns to getting a divorce, most couples have reached a stage in the relationship where neither of them wants to fight to stay married. The fight usually focuses on the following issues:

Regardless of how much divorce attorneys encourage their clients to resolve the financial and custody issues outside of court, emotions may stand in the way. Feeling hurt and angry may cause one of the parties to contest the divorce as a way to get back at the other spouse.

Contested Divorce

When a divorce is contested, the spouse seeking it must prove the other party was at fault in causing the marriage to end. Virginia recognizes the following as fault grounds upon which a court may grant a divorce:

  • Adultery
  • Conviction of a felony
  • Willful abandonment or desertion for a minimum period of one year
  • Cruelty causing a spouse to be in fear of bodily harm

When the spouse seeking a divorce files papers with the court accusing the other of misconduct, the normal reaction of the spouse accused of wrongdoing is to consult with a firm of divorce lawyers and contest it. Fault grounds usually exacerbate an already emotionally charged situation. This can be avoided by the parties reaching an agreement on disputed issues involving their children and finances and proceeding on a no-fault ground for divorce.

Contested Divorce (cont.)

A no-fault ground does not require proof that the other party was responsible for causing the breakup of the marriage. A couple living separate and apart, though not necessarily in separate residences, for at least one year without interruption may file for a no-fault divorce. The one-year time is cut in half for couples that do not have minor children and have a written separation agreement settling issues relating to the marital estate.

Use of a no-fault ground for divorce does not mean that it cannot be challenged. For example, if the parties lived together and were carrying on as a married couple during the one-year or six-month separation, the time must be computed from when that conduct ended and not from when they first separated. A spouse may use that to prevent a no-fault divorce.

Avoiding a Contested Divorce Takes Preparation and Cooperation

A divorce may begin with a spouse contesting it and the parties bickering over financial or custody issues, but there is nothing to prevent the parties and their family law attorneys from reaching a settlement before going to trial. Cooperating spouses can avoid court, significant financial costs, and the delays that come with it by putting emotions aside long enough to work together to avoid a contested divorce.

Couples wanting to avoid the bickering and delays associated with a contested divorce may do so by retaining competent divorce attorneys and cooperating with them to resolve disputes related to the children and financial matters. The parties must be willing to cooperate with their attorneys and with each other in order to end the marriage and move on with their lives.

Process to Make a Divorce Uncontested

It makes the process easier when couples can set aside their differences long enough to work out child custody and parenting plans, support and distribution of assets prior to meeting with their divorce lawyers. They should write down whatever terms they decide upon and, before signing, bring it to their lawyers along with copies of the following documents:

  • Statements from banks and other financial institutions
  • Deeds and titles to real and personal property
  • Appraisal reports for artwork and other assets

These and other documents can help the attorneys to identify the issues requiring additional negotiations to allow the divorce to proceed as uncontested.

A person may wish to bring copies of utility bills and their Virginia driver’s license when they meet with their lawyers to prove residency. The law requires that at least one of the parties in a divorce must be a resident of the Commonwealth for at least six months before the divorce process may begin.

If the parties live separately from each other, the lawyers may suggest using the no-fault ground of separation as the basis for the divorce. They must have lived apart, again, not necessarily in separate residences, without interruption for at least one year if they have children or six months for couples without children. The terms settling custody, visitation and other issues can be reduced to writing in an agreement prepared by the attorneys, reviewed and signed by the parties, and filed along with the other divorce documents with the circuit court where one of the parties lives.

Help From Yorktown – Newport News Family Law Attorneys

The knowledge and experience of the Yorktown family law attorneys at the Denbigh Law Center may prove helpful for people with questions about a Virginia uncontested divorce.  We have additional info at our Uncontested Virginia Divorce website 400DollarDivorce.Com.

While the office is physically located in Yorktown, they regularly handle cases throughout Virginia including Newport News, Hampton, Gloucester, and Williamsburg in addition to Yorktown.

A consultation may offer options and suggestions for resolving conflicts that may stand in the way of couples moving on with their lives. Should there be a need for a contested filing, know that the experienced and knowledgeable attorneys at Denbigh Law Center will be there to provide guidance in this area as well.  Contact them today at 757-877-2244.