1. Am I eligible for a Virginia Divorce?
You should consult one of our Attorneys to determine if you qualify for our uncontested divorce service. Among the minimum requirements are the following:
- You OR your spouse must be residents of Virginia for at least 6 months preceding the filing of your divorce papers with the court, AND
- You must have been intentionally separated without cohabitation for at least 6 months, have a signed separation agreement and no minor children, OR
- You must have been intentionally separated without cohabitation for at least 1 year and have no contested spousal or child support, child custody or division of property issues to litigate, or have resolved all such issues by a separation agreement.
Physical absence for periods of time during the 6 months does not necessarily divest Virginia of jurisdiction if you or your spouse have considered yourself a full-time legal resident of only Virginia, and maintain a Virginia residence (a place to live) or are a member of the armed forces of the United States. Our attorneys can advise you as to whether you may file your divorce in Virginia.
“Separation” means that you and your spouse have lived in separate homes the required period of time, and NOT under the same roof during any of that time. It is our office policy not to file any divorce until this separation period has been fully met with the parties living in separate homes.
2. My spouse and I are still living in the same house, but in separate rooms. Are we considered “separated” for divorce purposes?
Virginia law requires the parties to be separated without cohabitation for the required period of time. “Cohabitation” does not mean just sexual relations, but includes a variety of actions between people living together: mutual grocery shopping, child rearing, laundry, paying joint bills, preparing meals, doing house cleaning and repairs, lawn care, etc. To prove a couple has not cohabited even while living under the same roof requires additional evidence, almost to the extent a third party must live in the same house the entire time of separation. Because this is a gray area of the law, and because of the evidence needed to prove the separation has been continuous and without cohabitation, many attorneys will not file a divorce case while the parties are still living under the same roof.
3. I am in the military and deployed overseas or stationed outside of Virginia. Do I still qualify for a Virginia divorce?
Virginia law broadens the residency definition for military personnel: if the client was stationed in Virginia for at least 6 months immediately prior to deployment, or if his/her ship’s home port is Virginia, the soldier or sailor is deemed a” resident” of Virginia for purposes of filing for a divorce. The handling of a military divorce in Virginia requires additional knowledge beyond the laws applicable to civilian divorces. For instance, divorce procedures must comply with certain rights of the defendant spouse who is in the active military, under the federal Service members’ Civil Relief Act. Division of military retirement pay is subject to different rules, as are alimony and child support
Our office operates under the philosophy we must assist the men and women defending our country, not put additional obstacles in the way of their obtaining divorce services. We routinely handle uncontested divorces for our valued clients serving around the world in the U.S. armed services. We have represented a number of military clients serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, England, Korea and even in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. After July 1, 2012, Virginia allows Divorce by Affidavit, streamlining this process and eliminating the requirement of a hearing. We will provide our client the necessary Affidavits for him/her to sign, as well as the Affidavit for a witness (a relative or close friend). We can file and conclude your divorce without the necessity or inconvenience of you returning stateside. We will be glad to handle your divorce.