Divorce is of course the dissolution of a marriage and can be a difficult and emotional experience, especially if children are involved. Dissolving a marriage often involves property rights and financial matters that can raise tough and serious legal issues. You are strongly encouraged to hire an attorney.
To obtain a no-fault divorce in Virginia, either you or your spouse must be a resident of Virginia for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. If there are no children from the marriage, you must be separated for a minimum of six months and have a written property settlement agreement before you may obtain a divorce. If there are children from the marriage, you must be separated a minimum of one year before you may obtain a divorce.
How to Proceed with a Divorce Case
The divorce case is filed in the Circuit Court of the city or county either where the parties last lived together, or where the defendant lives at the time of the filing. In Virginia, you do not file a separation agreement as a separate document with the Court. To initiate the divorce, a complaint, in proper form, is filed with the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office along with the filing fee of $82. If you wish to have a defendant that is a resident of Virginia served by the Sheriff, please include a $12 service fee, and two additional copies of the complaint for service. All fees are paid to the Clerk of the Circuit Court where you file.
If the wife wishes to resume her maiden name, there will be an additional fee due when the final decree of divorce is entered. This fee is $21.
If you choose to represent yourself, you will be expected to follow the same procedures as an attorney. The Clerk’s Office does not have standardized divorce forms, so please do not ask.
Court staff are prohibited by state law from giving you legal advice or assistance as they are not attorneys.