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Residency Requirements

In order to qualify for a divorce in Virginia, one of the spouses must be a resident of Virginia for at least 6 months.

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In order to file for divorce in the State of Virginia, the Bill of Complaint for Divorce must be filed by one spouse who is from then on called the complainant, or the plaintiff. The complaint is then served on the other spouse (the defendant) by a process server, a waiver or an acceptance of service, or by signing an answer. Once the defendant has been served, he or she must file an Answer within 21 days of their service. If the defendant fails to file an answer within 21 days, the complainant's lawyer can then file to have the case be considered a "commissioner in chancery" in order to have a hearing on the grounds of the divorce. Once the commissioner has heard the evidence, he or she will file a recommendation that judge grant the complainant a divorce.

Settlement and Trial

Once the divorce has been filed, the complainant and defendant must try to reach an agreement regarding custody, support and property division. If the parties have reached an agreement and they do not desire to proceed with a lengthy trial they can use Rocket Lawyer's easy interview process to complete a Divorce Settlement Agreement outlining all of the details of the agreement. The Divorce Settlement Agreement allows the division of property, assets, debts and liabilities and settles matters of child support, custody and visitation.

If there is a disagreement on these matters, then the couple must have their case heard by a trial judge in open court. The judge will make a decision and then one of the spouses' lawyers will draft a divorce decree based on that decision.

Once there is no dispute from either party about the grounds of the divorce, and everything regarding custody, support and property division has been decided upon, then a drafted divorce decree is filed with the judge. Once law clerks have reviewed the decree's wording, the judge reads and signs the final decree. Once the decree is signed by the judge, then the parties are divorced.

A Note on Available Forms

There is no standard method in Virginia for divorce among the different counties. For this reason is it best to contact your local County Clerk's office to obtain the necessary forms required for your county. You can also use Rocket Lawyer to Find a Lawyerin your area to help with your divorce.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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