Getting a divorce can be a painful and stressful time for everyone involved. As such, it’s understandable that you’d want to get the process over as quickly as possible.
When filing for divorce in Virginia, it’s not possible to get an immediate divorce, unless you are filing on the grounds of adultery, and can prove it. Proving adultery requires a third party coming to court to corroborate the fact of adultery- typically, the third party is the paramour, or a private investigator.
An uncontested divorce is the fastest and easiest way to get a divorce in Virginia. The grounds for an uncontested divorce are that the parties have lived separate and apart for six (6) months, or one (1) year.
The time frame for filing a complaint for an uncontested divorce (a situation in which both parties are in agreement) in Virginia is a separation period of six (6) months, only if you have no minor children, and both parties have signed a settlement agreement. If you have minor children, and/or do not have a settlement agreement the separation period must be one (1) year before you can file your complaint with the court. A typical waiting period after all the paperwork has been filed with the court is six (6) to eight (8) weeks before you will receive your Final Order of Divorce.
No-fault divorces in Virginia are where you don’t necessarily have grounds for divorce, such as adultery or addiction, but you still want to proceed with dissolving your marriage. If you file for a no-fault divorce, you must be separated and live separately from your spouse for a year.
However, if you and your spouse have no minor children and agree to start the process sooner with a written agreement, you only need to be separated for six months. Even after you file, however, you will still need to wait for the judge to grant your divorce, and that’s if your spouse doesn’t contest your divorce.
Even in no-fault and uncontested divorces, the process can be prolonged depending on the circumstances surrounding your case.
You can file for divorce on any fault you feel applies to your marriage. However, going for a fault divorce doesn’t necessarily mean your divorce will be granted any faster.
For example, you may still need to wait six months before filing for divorce in fault cases. The only grounds for which you can file for divorce immediately in Virginia is adultery. In cases of adultery (which is defined as a married individual having voluntary sex with another person), you can file for divorce immediately without waiting after a separation period.
However, you must have reason to believe that your spouse cheated and you must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they cheated once you get to court. It can be difficult to prove that a sexual act happened—dating, kissing, or other types of touching don’t necessarily prove infidelity.
Even if you can prove that your spouse cheated, while you won’t need to go through a separation period with your spouse, you will need to wait for the court to schedule your hearing, which can take several months.
There are other contested grounds on which you may file immediately and an attorney would be best to advise you on which grounds to file on.
Contested divorces in Virginia happen when spouses disagree on divorce terms. As a result, the divorce process can take much longer, particularly if mediation efforts are not successful in getting you and your ex to agree on terms. In the end, a judge will decide terms for you if you cannot agree, but the process can take months, if not years, depending on your particular situation.
The best way to move forward with a divorce is to consult an experienced divorce attorney in Virginia about your options. A knowledgeable attorney can let you know the quickest option based on your case. Contact Virginia Family Law Center, P.C., today to learn more about how we can assist you with your divorce in Virginia.
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