ActressGeena Davis spent 17 years married to Dr. Reza Jarrahy and another five years divorcing him. The Hollywood couple’s divorce was not amicable or cheap. The couple apparently spent more than $1 million on legal fees. Could the divorce have unfolded more smoothly, even when Dr. Jarrahy did not want to leave the “Thelma & Louise” star?

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Uncontested Divorce in Virginia

Uncontested Virginia divorces are the fastest, least expensive ways to legally sunder the bonds of matrimony. These divorces mean the two parties (you and your spouse) agree on five core issues:

  1. Child custody
  2. Child support
  3. Spousal support
  4. Property division
  5. Parenting time schedules

Usually, neither party is considered “at fault” for causing the divorce and the two of you go along with your merry lives in relatively short order.

Contested Divorce in Virginia

Contested divorces occur when one spouse fights over the five core issues or does not want to divorce at all. A spouse cannot simply refuse to deal with a divorce.

If an uncontested or agreed divorce is not possible, one spouse can still file and ask the Virginia Circuit Courts to settle the matter. The other spouse can try to refuse served papers, can pretend the marriage is fine, or behave immaturely. You have only two tasks:

  1. Partner with an experienced, capable Virginia divorce attorney
  2. Live separate and apart from your spouse for six months (if you have no children) or a year (if you have children)

The uncooperative spouse can evade service of process, can refuse to answer filings, can never show up in court. All those inactions are in vain, because the slow-grinding gears of justice will move forward without the spouse’s participation.

Your attorney can file for a default judgment when the filings go unanswered for 21 days by your spouse. Court dates will be set, and process servers will eventually find their quarry. Provisions even exist for spouses who cannot be located or are out of state.

Your Spouse Will Not Agree to Divorce

Let’s say your spouse is the uncooperative one in a divorce proceeding. That leaves you to handle the heavy lifting, but again, you really only have two things to do (get that good family attorney and stay separate and apart for the required time).

Your attorney will continue the divorce proceedings, filing for property settlement, serving papers, collecting your information, and meeting court dates. The courts will move forward as long as evidence is presented that the opposing spouse has been given every opportunity to respond and has chosen not to.

Such a challenging divorce may take longer and be much more expensive than an agreed divorce. Still, you will (eventually) be divorced, whether or not your spouse went along with the proceedings.

In Virginia you cannot divorce a spouse without the spouse’s knowledge. Even in the case of a missing spouse, you must show that you attempted to inform your spouse:

  • You hired a private investigator to try to find your spouse
  • You hired more than one process server to attempt to serve court papers
  • You or the court clerk published notices in local newspapers for four consecutive weeks and waited for a legal response (usually four weeks)

You’re The One Not Cooperating

Ah, but what if you are the spouse who does not want to divorce yourself from the unsettled marriage? Call yourself unrealistic or a cockeyed optimist, you believe the marriage can be salvaged, despite all the signs.

What to do?

Here you also need an assertive attorney, one practicing family law. You need a strong advocate on your side, who will advise you to:

  • Pay attention to your spouse’s court filings
  • Accept service of papers
  • Show up in court
  • Let your lawyer do your talking

Court filings and process service offer insight into details of the divorce. These will spell out what your spouse is expecting regarding those five core issues.

You may want to save the marriage but you cannot operate as if you are the star of a romantic comedy: your third act will be divorce, not happily ever after. Geena Davis has been married and divorced four times, and she still struggles to do it right.

And, to keep your little flame alive, reconciliation after divorce is a real thing (expensive, but real). The Firm For Men is here for you, Virginia’s men, in all aspects of family law. Contact us today or telephone our Virginia Beach office now at (757) 383-9184. We can protect your peace of mind, personal power, and prosperity by working passionately to defend your rights.