Experienced Uncontested Divorce Lawyers in Virginia
In Virginia uncontested divorces, the parties are in agreement on all matters, and the court serves to approve their divorce agreement. In some cases, expedited procedures exist for uncontested divorce, sometimes referred to as a dissolution. Even though both parties might agree on the terms of their uncontested divorce, there is still the need to have an experience Virginia divorce attorney provide legal guidance during the process to ensure Virginia divorce laws are followed.
If you are thinking of getting an uncontested divorce in Virginia, contact our experienced Virginia family lawyers for a legal consultation: 804.592.6636.
What Are The Virginia Uncontested Divorce Procedures?
Uncontested Divorce Procedure 1. Requirements for divorce to be uncontested and appropriate to be set on uncontested docket in Virginia.
(a) All of the issues have been agreed to by the parties; and
(b) The grounds are separation for the statutory period (no-fault), or a motion for a no-fault divorce will be made pursuant to Virginia Code § 20-121.02; and
(c) Child support, spousal support, custody, and/or visitation are not requested; or if they are requested; there is a written and signed agreement, or both parties have signed the Final Divorce Decree.
(d) Exception. Cases that meet all the above requirements in which the parties are separated but still living in the same residence are not appropriate for setting on the uncontested divorce docket. Instead, those cases must be set for hearing on the Friday Divorce Docket.
Uncontested Divorce Procedure 2. How uncontested divorces are heard in Virginia
(a) To have the case heard before a judge, the parties must comply with the requirements set out in this manual. See Procedure 3-6 for further information and requirements.
(b) To have the case heard by a commissioner, the parties must submit a “Decree of Reference” to the clerk’s office. If the defendant has made an appearance, the Decree of Reference shall be endorsed by all counsel of record and any pro
se party or notice must be given as required by Supreme Court Rule 1:13. If the defendant has executed a waiver or failed to enter an appearance after proper service, the complainant may submit the decree of reference without defendant’s endorsement.
(c) A party may proceed to have case heard in support of an uncontested divorce or by deposition or affidavit where notice is not required to be given to the opposing party. See Procedure Section 7 for further direction and requirements.
Virginia Uncontested Divorce Procedure 3. Requirements to have a Virginia uncontested divorce heard before a Judge.
(a) File and serve the complaint.
(b) Wait until the time to answer has passed or the defendant has answered or filed a waiver.
(c) Request a hearing by filing in the Clerk’s Office a Hearing Request form. The moving party must send a copy of the Hearing Request to the other party or counsel.
(d) The following documents must be submitted with the Hearing Request:
(1) The original proposed Final Divorce Decree signed by both parties, if required (see NOTE), along with two copies. NOTE: The signature of a party who is legally entitled to notice is not required if the party is served with notice of the hearing and a copy of the proposed divorce decree.
(2) The original of any separation agreement (if applicable);
(3) Confidential Addendum for Protected Indentifying Information (if not already filed);
(4) Proof of service of the bill of complaint and/or waiver (if not already filed);
(5) An original, completed VS-4 form (form available from the clerk’s office).
(6) A self-addressed, stamped envelope if a pro se party (representing oneself without an attorney). If such envelope is not furnished, the scheduling, rejection, or correction notice shall not be mailed but placed in the case file (the moving party will have to contact the clerk’s or judges’ office for case status).
(7) If requesting restoration of former name, a properly completed typed order. See Procedure 8. Restoration of former name incident to a divorce.
Virginia Uncontested Divorce Procedure 4. After Hearing Request before a Judge filed, case reviewed by a law clerk.
(a) If all requirements have been met, the judicial assistant will transmit a Scheduling Notice to the moving party’s attorney by facsimile (and place fax confirmation sheet in the file), or mail such notice to a pro se party. The
Scheduling Notice will inform the party that the hearing request is approved.
(b) If all requirements have not been met or there are unusual evidentiary requirements, a Rejection Notice will be sent along with a Correction Form, stating the reasons for the rejection and listing the required corrections and/or the requirement that the case must be set for hearing on the duty judge docket. The clerk’s office will
(i) if the moving party is represented by counsel place such rejection and correction notice in the attorney’s box, or if no box, will mail such notices to the attorney, or
(ii) if the moving party is acting pro se mail such notices provided such party has submitted the required self addressed stamped envelope. Any corrections must be made and the necessary documents submitted to the Clerk’s Office along with a self-addressed stamped envelope if acting pro se.
(c) Do not contact the law clerks by telephone. Communications with the law clerks must be in writing or by e-mail and are limited to the matters in the Correction Form.
Virginia Uncontested Divorce Procedure 5. Scheduling a hearing before a Judge.
(a) The case can be scheduled for a hearing only if the law clerk has mailed the moving party a Scheduling Notice. Within 21 days from the date of the Scheduling Notice, the moving party must follow instructions in the Scheduling Notice to schedule a hearing.
(b) Failure to contact the court within such 21-day period may result in having to resubmit another Hearing Request for further review before a trial date can be set.
Virginia Uncontested Divorce Procedure 6. Hearing before the Judge.
(a) For a continuance of the scheduled hearing, see Request for Continuance of Hearing form available on the Court’s website.
(b) The moving party and the witness must appear in person.
(c) Counsel or the party, if proceeding pro se, must present the evidence to prove the grounds for the divorce and any other relief that is sought. See Questions for Complainant and Questions for the Corroborating Witness.
(d) No changes or corrections will be permitted at the hearing, other than a motion for a no-fault divorce pursuant to Virginia Code § 20-121.02.
(e) If required by law, the non-moving party must be served with notice of the hearing and a copy of the proposed divorce decree. Notice must be served 7 days prior to the hearing date; and a copy or the original of the proof of
service must be filed at least 5 days prior to the hearing date. The original proof of service must be brought to the hearing if it is not filed earlier (Virginia Code § 20-99).
(f) Generally, the final decree will be entered at the hearing. The Clerk’s Office will mail certified copies of the final decree if the parties provide sufficient copies and a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
(g) If the moving party fails to appear at the hearing, the case may be dismissed after a 30-day review period.
(h) A court reporter is required if a party was served by an order of publication or the equivalent and has not appeared. The court will not provide the court reporter. The moving party must arrange to have a court reporter present at the hearing. A final decree will not be entered until the transcript is filed with the court.
Uncontested Divorce Procedure 7. Requirements to have Virginia uncontested divorce heard by deposition or affidavit.
(a) Follow procedures set forth in Procedure 3(a) and (b); however, do not submit a Hearing Request Form if you are proceeding by affidavits.
(b) If the case satisfies the requirements set forth in Procedure 1, and notice is not required to be given to the opposing party, the party may proceed by deposition or affidavit as provided in §20-106(A). The deposition or affidavit shall conform to and not deviate from the questions required by this Court. See Questions for Complainant and Questions for Corroborating Witness in this manual.
(c) File the documents required in 3(d) with such written deposition or affidavit. The documents will be reviewed by the law clerk. If all requirements have not been met, a Rejection Notice will be sent along with a Correction Form,
stating the reasons for the rejection and listing the required corrections and/or the requirement that the case must be set for hearing.
(d) A request for restoration of former name, if desired, must be submitted with the items listed in 7(c), and otherwise comply with Procedure 8.
Virginia Uncontested Divorce Procedure 8. Restoration of former name incident to a divorce
(a) Virginia Code § 20-121.4 provides that upon decreeing a divorce, a party who changed his or her name by reason of the marriage, may motion the court to restore such party’s former name or maiden name by a separate order meeting the requirements of § 8.01-217.
(b) This motion must be made at the hearing and you must submit with your hearing request a properly completed typed order along with a $21 clerk’s recording fee payable to the circuit court clerk.
(c) A sample Order Restoring Former Name Incident to a Divorce is located on the Circuit Court web site. Questions for an uncontested divorce and divorce by deposition/affidavit
Using An Experienced Virginia Divorce Attorney to Handle An Uncontested Divorce in Virginia
Each party involved in an Virginia uncontested divorce matter is strongly encouraged to consult with a Virginia divorce attorney so that the legal effects of the proceedings may be fully explained. While it is your right to proceed without an attorney in a Virginia uncontested divorce, if you do so, you may forever, unknowingly waive your rights to custody or visitation, child or spousal support, equitable distribution of property, and other legal claims arising out of your marriage. The law clerks and the clerk’s office and judicial staff are not permitted to give legal advice for an uncontested divorce in Virginia. You should contact an experienced Virginia divorce lawyer if you are considering obtaining a Virginia uncontested divorce.
Experienced Virginia Uncontested Divorce Lawyers
As mentioned previously, if you and your spouse agree to the terms of a divorce, you may qualify for filing an uncontested divorce in Virginia. Virginia family and divorce laws are complex and even if you agree to terms, its important to consult with an experienced Virginia uncontested divorce lawyer to ensure all legal procedures are followed. Contact our Virginia divorce attorneys today for a uncontested divorce consultation 804.592.6636.