Embarking on the journey of divorce can be a challenging and emotionally charged experience, and at our firm, we are dedicated to providing guidance and support every step of the way. Our experienced team is here to guide you through the steps involved, ensuring that your divorce is handled with sensitivity and efficiency. Allow us to be your trusted partners in this journey, providing the expertise and support needed to navigate the intricacies of divorce while striving for a resolution that aligns with your unique circumstances and goals.
The very first step in the actual divorce process is filing a Complaint for Divorce. Even when both spouses agree that they want to get divorced, one of them will have to be the one to file a Complaint with the court asking for the divorce. The Complaint will have to state the grounds for the divorce.
In an uncontested divorce, the grounds will be that the parties have been living separate and apart (No Fault) for a period of either six (6) months if they have no minor children or for one (1) year if they do have minor children.
The next step for the party filing for divorce is to obtain proof of service of process on the other party. Service of process can be either respectful and dignified or undignified. If the parties mutually agree on the divorce, it is best for the party who files the complaint to arrange for service of process by having the other party “accept service” by signing the Complaint before a notary public or having the other party’s attorney accept it for them. Having a process server or Sheriff visit one’s spouse at his or her place of employment to serve papers falls into the undignified category.
The party who receives service of process will then need to file a response to the petition or simply waive any further process (for an uncontested case) to expedite the divorce.
One of the reasons a spouse may refuse to sign Virginia divorce papers is if they no longer agree to the terms of the divorce or never did. If a spouse refuses to sign, the divorce can be considered contested and may take significantly longer to process.
Even if you verbally agreed on terms and your spouse is now balking at seeing them in print, try to remind your spouse of why you decided on these terms in the first place. Do your communication through an attorney if necessary.
It’s typically in the best interests of both parties to agree on the terms of the divorce. This not only prevents a judge from making decisions about your asset and debt division, alimony, and minor children, but it can also make the process faster and less expensive.
If the parties don’t agree on all the issues, the next step requires that they try to negotiate their differences. The court may schedule settlement conferences that attempt to move the parties toward a final resolution of the issues. If the parties disagree on child custody and visitation, the court may also order mediation or that a lawyer or guardian ad litem be appointed to represent the children. Other issues that may need to be negotiated are the property division and any spousal support.
Any issues that the parties absolutely cannot resolve between themselves will have to be decided by the judge at a trial. However, going to trial will take longer, cost more money, and have less predictable results, so it is probably best to avoid going to trial if possible.
The Final Order of Divorce ends the marriage and states how the property and debts are to be divided, custody, support, and any other issues. When the parties negotiate a resolution of all of the issues, the attorneys will draft a settlement agreement and the Final Order of Divorce to submit to the court. If the Order complies with legal requirements and both parties entered into it knowingly and willingly, then the judge will approve it. Otherwise, the court will decide all of those personal matters and will issue its opinion in a Final Order of Divorce at the end of the trial.
Navigating the path of divorce is an emotionally charged and challenging journey, and our firm is committed to being your steady support throughout every step. Our seasoned team understands the intricacies involved in divorce proceedings and is dedicated to guiding you through the process with both sensitivity and efficiency. Call us today.
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