No one wants to think that their marriage will end in divorce, but if your spouse has made it clear that he or she no longer wants to be married to you, then it is in everyone’s interest to make the divorce process go quickly and smoothly. This way, both parties can move on with their lives with the least amount of stress and financial hardship. In Virginia, as in many other states, today’s divorce procedures are much simpler than they were a few decades ago. Meanwhile Virginia does have some outdated sounding laws, such as “adultery, sodomy, or buggery” being grounds for divorce. It also has something called “divorce from bed and board,” which is old-fashioned terminology for a legal separation.
Virginia does have a residency requirement for divorce, but it is less strict than what some other states have. In order to obtain a divorce in Virginia, at least one spouse needs to have been living in Virginia for at least six months at the time of filing for divorce.
Separated for a Year
Virginia is a “no fault” divorce state, which means that you do not have to prove that one party did something extreme, such as abuse or adultery, that would ruin the marriage. (Of course, you certainly can get a divorce if there was abuse or adultery, but you can also divorce if you simply no longer wish to be married to your spouse.) You cannot simply jump from everything being fine in your marriage to getting a divorce, though. The spouses need to have been living separately for at least a year at the time that one of them files the petition to divorce.
Preparing for a Divorce
The most important part of preparing for a divorce is demonstrating that you and your spouse have been living separately for at least a year. If you and your spouse are still living in the same house but have possible. The way to show proof that you and your spouse have separate residences is to have your mail delivered to different addresses. You should also draft a separation agreement that shows the date that your separation began. Although it is possible to draft such an agreement with or without an attorney, it is a good idea to have a lawyer review the agreement before you submit it. Likewise, when you file the petition for divorce, you should have a lawyer review that as well.
Discuss Important Questions with Your Spouse
In Virginia, divorce is simple if the spouses can agree on matters like time-sharing with children and which spouse will live in the marital residence after the divorce. Discussing these issues with your spouse before you separate or during the year of separation before the divorce can make the process simpler and less expensive. If you come to an impasse, the only way to resolve the disagreement is by one or both spouses seeking professional legal help.
Preparing for a divorce can be difficult, both legally and personally. Let the law firm of Ferguson, Rawls & Raines help you shoulder the burden during this time.