Perhaps you and your wife woke up after a three-day honeymoon at Busch Gardens and realized you hardly know each other. Perhaps you both came to the conclusion, after a few years of earnestly trying, that you are simply not right for each other. No hard feelings, no bruised egos — you are both just ready to move on. You may be ideal candidates for an uncontested divorce in Virginia.
#1 — Are You Eligible?
An uncontested divorce is one in which both parties agree on all the particulars of the divorce (more on that later). You and your soon-to-be ex-wife have no beef with each other; you are not going to attack the character or veracity of each other. Neither one of you is out for blood, you both just want to be out.
Uncontested divorce in Virginia requires a few basic criteria:
- You or your wife have been residents of Virginia at least six months
- You and your wife have no conflicts regarding property division, marital debt, child custody, spousal support, or child visitation
- You live separate and apart from your wife for six months (if you two have no children) or a year (if you two have children)
- Neither of you holds the other responsible for cruelty, bodily harm, desertion or abandonment, or criminal behavior resulting in felony charges
#2 — Courtrooms Bother You
Under Code of Virginia § 20-91 you and your wife can divorce by using a property settlement agreement to lay out all the conditions, then spend a minimum of time in front of a Virginia judge to make clear you were not coerced or pressured into signing the agreement.
Your time in court could be for as little as an hour out of one day, which means you and your now ex-wife can get on with your lives without a whole lot of legal maneuvering. You can forego steps like discovery, depositions, investigations, and petitions.
#3 — No Hard Feelings
If you and your wife want to use a divorce to work out pent-up emotions, anger issues, or sexual frustrations, by all means have at it through a nasty, messy, contested divorce.
If, though, you both have come to realize you are just not compatible, you like each other well enough but are not in love with each other, an uncontested divorce is about the simplest, calmest way to go about ending the marriage.
Sure, you both need lawyers to file some paperwork with the court:
- Hearing Request Form
- Original separation agreement
- Original proposed Final Divorce Decree signed by both parties, if required
- Proof of service of the complaint and/or waiver
- Original, completed VS-4 form (Report of Divorce or Annulment)
- A self-addressed, stamped envelope if a pro se party (representing oneself without an attorney)
Within the legal system that list is considered light work. While to the untrained, one-time divorcing Virginia man, that may seem like a daunting list of papers to fill out, your attorney can handle it expeditiously. More information about uncontested divorce in Virginia Beach courts can be obtained from the Virginia Beach Circuit Court.
With you and your wife in agreement over every aspect of the divorce, the process can move along very quickly.
#4 — Total Agreement
When we said back in #1 that you and your soon-to-be ex-wife agreed on all the particulars, we mean everything. You are writing into a legal agreement all the tiny details that will command your lives from the divorce on. The legal agreement, called a property settlement agreement, should have all this spelled out in excruciating detail:
- Spousal support — Who gives what to whom; how much, and for how long?
- Property division — Everything must go! (To one or the other of you; retirement accounts, investments, intellectual property, the house, the vehicles).
- Debt division — Equitable division of all marital debt can be … er ... a challenge
- Future obligations — Tax consequences, HMO fees, timeshare charges, even small charges down to safe deposit box rentals all have to be considered.
If you have children, add these important specifics to the agreement:
- Child custody — Not merely physical custody, but legal custody, too.
- Child support — Here you have to follow the state minimums as laid out in Code of Virginia § 20-108.2; being willing to provide more support is better.
- Parenting time — If you have children, you both must agree completely to a formal schedule of visitation.
#5 A Quickie
No, no, not like that! All we mean is that your marriage was not a multi-decade saga of love, struggle, lamentations and celebrations. If you and your wife have a short marriage, you are prime candidates for an uncontested divorce.
You may not have put down roots; perhaps you still rent a place. You may have bought very little marital property that requires careful parsing out between the two of you (“Who gave us the white elephant? Do you want it? I’m pretty sure you said you wanted it.”) under Code of Virginia § 20-107.3. You may have built up the tiniest of nest eggs to crack open and split between the two of you.
A brief marriage saddles you with very little to clean up through a divorce. The longer you are married, the more complex the untangling of the assets.
#6 Lemme See Your Wallet
The shortest reason for choosing an uncontested divorce: it is far less expensive than contested divorce. Everything — attorney’s fees, court costs, drive time, postage, childcare expenses — is greatly reduced by the simplicity of uncontested divorce.
Contact The Firm For Men today to have our experienced attorneys handle your uncontested divorce, or call us at 757-383-9184. We can safeguard your rights even when you feel you and your wife are handling everything civilly, calmly, and maturely.