A typical Uncontested Divorce in Virginia can be submitted to the Court for entry of the Final Decree of Divorce in as little as two to three weeks depending on the time it takes for the other party to sign, notarize and return the necessary paperwork. Once the completed divorce is on the judge’s desk, the time it takes for the divorce to be reviewed and signed by the judge varies, but is usually less than two to three weeks. This is in addition to the time it takes to draft the documents and to have them signed, completed and forwarded to the Court, so the typical total time is approximately four to six weeks from start to finish.
The process of obtaining an Uncontested Divorce is as follows:
1. The client must complete the Divorce intake form and provide all of the necessary information required by law to complete the divorce. After the client completes the form, arranges payment and executes a contract to obtain the divorce, the initial documents are drafted;
2. The Complaint for Divorce is drafted and sent to the Clerk of Court of the appropriate court along with a confidential addendum that contains sensitive information about the parties and is kept under seal in the Court’s file. A check for the filing fee is also sent to the Court to open the case;
3. The Court will open a file and will send back a copy of the Complaint with a cover page that is used for service of process;
4. The Final Decree of Divorce is drafted and sent to the other party along with the service copy of the Complaint and a form that states the other party accepts service and waives future notice of the divorce filings. The other party then signs the final decree and signs and notarizes the acceptance/waiver form and returns them to the law office;
5. Affidavits that support the necessary findings for the divorce are drafted and signed in the presence of a notary and under oath. The Affidavits are usually signed by the Plaintiff (Client) and a witness who is over 18 years of age and can testify under oath to certain facts concerning the marriage and that the parties have lived separate and apart for more than 12 months, and that the person has been to the home of the Plaintiff and would have seen evidence of the parties living together if the Defendant was living there;
6. An additional form is prepared by the law office that will later be submitted to the Virginia Bureau of Vital Records to record the divorce;
7. The final decree, vital records form, affidavits and property settlement agreement, if applicable, are then sent to the Court for the judge to review and sign the Final Decree of Divorce, which divorces the parties and ends the case. If there are any issues of custody, visitation or support, they are often remanded to the local Juvenile and Domestic Relations court for future modification and enforcement.