Steps You and Your Spouse Can Take to Help Expedite an Uncontested Divorce in Virginia

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Steps You and Your Spouse Can Take to Help Expedite an Uncontested Divorce in Virginia

March 26 2022
By Faye Carroll

Deciding to divorce is rarely an easy decision, but once you and your spouse decide to separate, it’s understandable that you’d want your divorce to be granted as quickly as possible so you can move on with your life.

However, even if you have an uncontested divorce—in which you and your spouse agree on the terms of the divorce and can avoid court—the process can still take some time to finalize. What are some steps you and your spouse can take to help expedite an uncontested divorce in Virginia?

Ensure All Documentation Is Correct and Properly Signed

Before filing for divorce, it’s essential to ensure you have all the necessary documents. If you are missing any documents or one of the documents is incomplete due to a missing attachment or signature, your case will take more time to process in the court system and cause delays in your divorce.

To file for an uncontested divorce, it is always best to have a marital settlement agreement (MSA) signed and notarized by both parties including a parenting plan or child support arrangement if you have minor children. Your attorney will draft the remaining paperwork such as the Complaint for Divorce, the Acceptance of Service/Waiver of Future Notice, the Affidavit to verify the terms of the Complaint, and the Final Order of Divorce.

Be Aware of Timelines in the Process

An uncontested divorce works a bit differently than a contested divorce. In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree that the divorce is no-fault. However, in order for the divorce to be no-fault, you must meet certain requirements before filing for divorce in Virginia.

These requirements include living apart from your spouse for six months or more (12 months if you have minor children together), and at least one party must live in Virginia. Therefore, attempting to file for divorce before you decide to live separate and apart, or if you have otherwise not yet met these requirements, can result in wasted time. Under certain circumstances, however, a couple can live separate and apart under the same roof, and that time is considered as part of the required period of separation.

Hire a Mediator If Necessary

Sometimes, a spouse will say they agree with the terms of the separation and divorce but refuse the sign the paperwork when the time comes. Disputes such as these can quickly lead to delays in your divorce. Since an uncontested divorce is the fastest way to secure a divorce in Virginia, it’s always in both spouse’s best interests to agree on all of the terms.

If your spouse refuses to negotiate, consider hiring a professional mediator to help you resolve the issue. These professionals are trained and experienced in helping families come to a decision when divorcing and can give you your best chance to proceed with an uncontested divorce in Virginia. We can provide referrals to court certified mediators.

Work With an Experienced Attorney

A divorce attorney can be incredibly helpful in any type of divorce, including an uncontested divorce. An experienced lawyer can help you navigate the entire process and handle everything for you, including agreeing on terms with your spouse, drafting and filing paperwork, and addressing any questions throughout the process.

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