Filing Requirements for Divorce in Virginia

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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If you are planning to file for a divorce in the state of Virginia, there are a number of things you will need to know before filing, as well as various requirements you will have to meet. One of the most important factors involved in being able to get a divorce in Virginia is the length of time you must live there before the courts can hear your case. This is referred to as a residency requirement. 

Rules for a Virginia Divorce

To get a divorce in Virginia:

  • You must have been a legal resident of the state for at least six months prior to the date that you filed the divorce paperwork. You should take steps to demonstrate your actual residence such as getting a driver’s license, registering to vote, getting a job, and opening a bank or charge account in order to prove you meet this requirement.
  • If your marriage is childless, a separation of at least six months must have taken place before the divorce and must have been documented by a legal separation agreement filed in court.  
  • If you have children, a one year separation must be on record.  

In either case, in order to get a divorce in Virginia, you will also need a signed property distribution document notarized by the court, showing how you plan to divide your marital property. If you are unable to arrive at a property division agreement on your own, then the divorce will be a litigated divorce and the court will make a determination for you on the appropriate property division. Litigating asset division, or other issues like child custody, tends to be much more expensive than arriving at an out of court agreement on your own.

Getting Help

For assistance in obtaining a divorce in Virginia, it is always a good idea to have a lawyer as your advocate in order to ensure you comply with the laws, and that your rights are protected. 

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