The complexity of your divorce case determines if it will take you over a year to end your marriage legally or you will zip through the process within two months. However, Virginia has a mandatory one-year separation period. Being unaware of it can significantly lengthen the entire divorce process for you.
If you want to get a divorce in Virginia as fast as possible, let’s look at essential aspects of the legal procedure for different cases before proceeding in greater detail.
Separation Requirements Can Interfere with Your Divorce Timeline
Virginia is a state that requires a lengthy separation period before a divorcing couple is entitled to apply for divorce. It is a requirement for no-fault divorces where neither party is responsible for the dissolution of marriage.
Even if the spouses keep sharing the family home, they must prove they have lived “separate and apart” by maintaining separate households and splitting their parenting and financial responsibilities.
The length of separation is different for couples with and without minor children. Those who have children under eighteen must wait for one year from the date of separation. The others can file the divorce paperwork after a six-month waiting period.
If you pull up all your legal documents and convene with your spouse on how to handle all the divorce-related issues to qualify for an uncontested divorce, you can expect to have a relatively quick divorce.
Except for mandatory separation, Virginia has no other set waiting periods. And when the judge sees the spouses cooperating, a divorce is finalized as soon as the workload at the court allows for it.
Decide Whether You Want to Contest or Not
A decision not to have a contested divorce shouldn’t be motivated by how long it will take. Even though court battles are notoriously long and difficult, spouses who choose to contest their divorce in court have their reasons to pay the price of time and money.
If grounds for divorce include cruelty, abandonment, felony convictions, or adultery, or if spouses contest any terms of the divorce, such as custody, support, or distribution of assets, the parties should expect the resolution to take at least one year from the date of filing.
Contrastingly, a willingness to have an amicable split will be easier on your family and your bank account as it will end sooner. If a couple agrees on the divorce terms, they can have an uncontested divorce and proceed with the Do-It-Yourself approach without an attorney.
The truth is that if spouses sort out how to split child custody and divide what they own, basically all they need to do is complete and file the divorce forms and attend a court hearing. They don’t need to hire a lawyer to pull it off.
Will Hiring an Attorney Make My Divorce Quicker?
Not necessarily. A lot depends on the circumstances of your divorce. Your spouse is the most significant part of the circumstances and context of your divorce.
Some couples hire a lawyer to do all the paperwork and not to miss any court deadlines. Others prefer to get familiar with Virginia family law and do all the legwork on their own.
In the case of an uncontested divorce where both parties resolve their issues amicably and timely, having legal representation does not equal a quicker divorce. A family attorney can save you some time by completing the divorce documents for you, but they cannot make the court work faster or end a separation period earlier.
Some couples worry that if they decide to proceed with divorce paperwork without an attorney, they may use outdated forms, make errors filling out documents, and miss a court deadline inadvertently. In this case, entrust the paperwork preparation to a reputable online divorce company.
Such tools save you time and money. They allow you to fill out your forms from the comfort of your own home without wasting time and money visiting an attorney. Typically, Internet divorce services provide user-friendly platforms that generate divorce papers in a matter of days. Some of them even send step-by-step filing instructions to ensure they proceed correctly.
What Exactly Should I Agree Upon to Make My Divorce Happen Quickly?
Spouses should address three major aspects of family life before a divorce is finalized: custody, support, and property. Resolve each issue as fast as possible, and the court will not take long to make your divorce final.
Cooperating on how you want to share child support and visitation means you can draft a settlement agreement memorializing your custodial split and visitation schedules. Distributing real estate and personal property also doesn’t require the court’s involvement if spouses decide on their own and add property division clauses to their settlement agreement.
In Virginia, both parents are obliged to support their children financially. The state child support guidelines consider the combined incomes of both parents.
When reviewing the divorce documents, the judge accepts your terms of spousal support (alimony) if they consider the length of your marriage, distribution of marital property, earning capacity and contributions of each of you, and so on. If the terms of support you lay down in the agreement are unfair, the judge may rule for or against spousal support at their discretion.
What Can Lengthen Your Divorce?
Filing for divorce in Virginia is rather straightforward. As you can see, you can do it on your own and have a reasonably quick and affordable divorce. Assuming that calling your marriage off is unhampered, here’s a shortlist of other factors that can create obstacles on your way to freedom.
- Not knowing where your spouse is. It is possible to get divorced without the other spouse in Virginia, but it will definitely delay your divorce. If you don’t know where your spouse lives and cannot agree on the divorce terms, your options are to notify them by publication.
- Having a prenuptial agreement. On the one hand, a prenuptial agreement makes property division and alimony award simpler as it spells divorce terms. However, the court may refuse to acknowledge the child custody agreement, lengthening the divorce process.
Getting a Divorce in Virginia
Having no strict timeframes, Virginia offers a lot of leeway for divorcing spouses to have the kind of divorce they want and can afford. Agreeing to an uncontested divorce will save you time. Preparing divorce paperwork over the Internet will drive the cost of divorce down. Choose what works for you and turn a new page soon.