Not sure where to buy the freshest produce in Virginia? Well, check out the Giant grocery store in Manassas, which recently found an interesting reason to clear out and replace a lot of produce, fast. A man was arrested, says the Virginian-Pilot,1 for rubbing Giant’s produce on his back side and then returning the produce to the shelves. No word on the exact type of produce he used, but we are all hoping no cucumbers or carrots were involved. It doesn’t matter—once he got started, he just couldn’t stop. If you find yourself hurtling down the proverbial produce aisle of a Virginia divorce you would rather return to the shelves, we can help.

You Started the Divorce and Want to Stop It

If you started divorce proceedings against your Virginia wife and are now thinking better of it, do not despair. What you and your attorney started, you can also stop, at several points in the process.

In Virginia, a divorce is not granted to a man who says, “I divorce thee” three times, as once was the norm in India (no longer — the triple talaq was banned in 2017). The typical divorce case requires filings (plural) by your attorney in a Virginia Circuit Court. Your attorney first files a bill of complaint and ensures notice is served on your wife.

This is true whether you are hoping for an uncontested divorce (six months or a year waiting period, then the filing) or a contested divorce with some indication of fault grounds (she was unfaithful, was a criminal, and other unpleasant reasons).

The court clerk gives you and your attorney a case number, which attaches to all subsequent paperwork, such as a date to appear in court. Once your spouse has been served with papers indicating you filed for divorce, the clock starts on her. She has 21 days to respond to the complaint. If she fails to respond, the Circuit Court judge will usually grant the divorce by default (viewing it as uncontested).

This should give you a sense of two opportunities to intervene to stop the proceedings:

  1. Before your attorney files the bill of complaint
  2. Before your wife responds to the bill of complaint

In either case, if you change your mind and want to stop the divorce proceedings, your attorney can return to the same Circuit Court and file the appropriate form.

Every court is run a little differently, so the court clerk is your friend in this. In some jurisdictions, a specific form exists. In other jurisdictions, your attorney may file a Motion and Order of Nonsuit (a technical way to withdraw the petition).

Just as you faced fees to file the initial complaint, you will also face fees to file the withdrawal of the complaint, under Virginia Code § 8.01-380. You will likely have to also pay to have another round of papers served on your wife, informing her that you have stopped divorce proceedings.

Whatever your local jurisdiction’s particular process, across Virginia the answer is the same: if you initiated the proceedings, you alone control continuation of the proceedings.

She Started the Divorce and You Want to Stop It

The situation is completely different if your wife files for divorce from you. She is in control of the process, including any intervention to stop it. If you do not want a divorce and she files against you, your attorney can raise objections and can attempt to negotiate an end to the proceedings, but cannot remove the complaint she filed.

Areas that can delay the process, giving you more time to try to reach an understanding with your wife, are:

  • Property Settlement Agreement
  • Spousal Support
  • Child Custody and Visitation (if children are involved)

All these issues need to be ironed out before the divorce is made final in Circuit Court. Be careful that your wife and her attorney understand you are pushing back against these necessary steps as a way to prevent the divorce, not to antagonize her. You will eventually need to be seated at a conference table with her, trying to work out an alternative to divorce, and you want her in a good mood.

When is a Divorce Final?

Only when the Circuit Court judge decrees the divorce final is it done. Even during a hearing to make the divorce final, you and your attorney can still request a continuance, object to the complaint, and ask for more time to work with your wife to come to an agreement.

Just about anything — mediated divorce, collaborative divorce, or an extended separation — is better than a contested divorce through the Virginia court system. This is doubly true if you do not really want to go through with the divorce. Either a mediated or collaborative divorce may provide you opportunities, if you do eventually divorce, to claw back some compromises from your wife.

Call The Divorce Lawyers for Men

What happens when you contact The Firm For Men online, by calling 757-383-9184? You reach an experienced divorce lawyer for men only, focusing on helping Virginia’s men navigate divorce, separation, and other issues. We can help you fast-track a divorce or, if necessary, put the brakes on a divorce you don’t want. Contact our Virginia Beach office today for a consultation!