You and your spouse have decided to file for divorce and you both want to avoid a long and complicated process. Instead, you agree to settle the matter amicably and independently. This type of divorce is known as uncontested.
An uncontested divorce allows a couple who has mutually agreed to end their marriage to settle all the major issues involved in the process without drawn out litigation. This means that they can sign the necessary documents without having to go through the stress and expense of a divorce trial since they have resolved everything themselves or through mediation.
Obtaining an uncontested divorce in Virginia
According to Virginia code § 20-91 a couple who wishes to file for an uncontested divorce must have lived separately for at least one year, or six months if they have minor children. During this separation period, you and your spouse must establish yourselves independently. This means setting up individual bank accounts and residences.
There can be no breaks in the separation period. If, for example, you do temporarily put things on hold and move back home you will have to start the process over again if you still wish to file for an uncontested divorce.
Next, you must draft a separation agreement. This is where you will put into writing how you will divide assets and how custody of your children will be shared. You can address the issue of child support in your agreement if the two of you are able to amicably reach a decision. Otherwise, you will need to settle this issue through mediation or in the courtroom.
Finally, you’ll need to make decisions about things such as alimony and who can claim the dependants on their taxes. Once you have finalized the separation agreement amongst yourselves, it is recommended that you seek guidance to have your agreement reviewed before you file the paperwork.