Virginia Divorce Procedures

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Divorce has become a common phenomenon of today's fast-paced world. In the recent years, divorce rates in USA, Puerto Rico, Russia, United Kingdom, Denmark, etc. have increased. This is really unfortunate but true. Now-a-days we do not have enough time to resolve issues and so we think about the extreme. Divorce comes as the only option to end a marriage legally in many nations or states. Virginia in the US has laid down its own divorce laws. If you want to get divorced from your spouse legally, you must learn about some Virginia divorce procedures.

The divorce rate in Virginia is 3.7 per 1000 population. You have to meet the residency requirements in order to file for a divorce. The Commonwealth of Virginia gets jurisdiction to handle a divorce case, when either divorcing partner has resided in the Commonwealth for minimum 6 months. In a divorce case, the divorcing partners can get judgments, orders and rulings on several issues other than the divorce. The court has the right to grant relief in case of the following:

  • Attorney's fees
  • Temporary use of the marital home
  • Spousal Support
  • Child Support
  • Custody and/or Visitation
  • Equitable Distribution of Marital Property
  • A Decree of Divorce and divorce grounds

Some of the most important aspects of Virginia divorce processes are discussed here:

Initial Phase of Virginia Divorce Procedures

When the Bill of Complaint for divorce is filed, the divorce case is initiated. This document comprises of all the necessary jurisdictional and statutory requirements of the court as well as the Complainant's grounds for divorce.

The Bill of Complaint is served to the Defendant. This service can be accepted voluntarily or by private process server or by the Sheriff's Department. There also lies an option of waiving the service.

The Defendant reserves the right to answer all the allegations mentioned in the Bill of Complaint. Further, this Defendant is free to file a Cross-Bill of Complaint and in it alleges any grounds of divorce against the Complainant. The Defendant may also demand relief from the court.

Pendente Lite Hearing in Virginia Divorce Procedures

The Pendente Lite Hearing is a brief hearing that is executed in open court and is restricted to 15 minutes per side. It is scheduled on a Friday Motion Day. Some of the issues that are crucial to the divorcing partners are resolved through a temporary court order. It has been frequently seen that this hearing is used to resolve temporary visitation, attorney fees, exclusive use of the residence, spousal support and child support.

Discovery and Motions

After the Hearing, comes the Discovery Phase. Particularly in contested cases, this becomes a very complex procedure and may persist for a long duration. The various methods of discovery are as follows:

  • Subpoenas
  • Depositions
  • Request for Production of Documents
  • Interrogatories

The Circuit Court hears motions pertaining to disputed legal matters on any Friday. Some of the motions are given here:

  • Enforcement of previously entered orders
  • Petitions for temporary support

These motions assist the case on the road to a settlement. However, it has been recorded that these are often bitter.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Procedures

It has been observed that with the progression of time, more and more individuals are attempting Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedures. Some of these are as follows.


There is a four-way meeting of both the divorcing parties and their attorneys to reach a settlement. If a settlement is reached, the counsel draws a Property Settlement Agreement.


A therapist may be hired to talk with the children and the parents and advise a most apt visitation and custody. An appraiser may estimate the value of antiques and real property. An accountant may analyze the business interests.

Neutral Evaluation

A Neutral Evaluator is appointed by the court and is a local expert domestic relations attorney. This Evaluator explains how he or she thinks that the court would resolve the different issues.

After reading the Virginia divorce procedures that are mentioned here, you will get an overview of the divorce process of the state. You may face many obstacles in the beginning, but the result that will come after seeking a divorce legally will be life-long and beneficial.

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