Virginia Divorce Steps

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Virginia has the structured basis of family law for carrying out the procedure for divorce. It specifies in its law all requirements that are needed for the application of a divorce and registration of such application. The basis essential condition that has to be fulfilled is a residency requirement. In order to be eligible for a filing of a divorce in this state, a person has to be a domiciled resident for at least six months before such filing. Here, are some important Virginia divorce steps which may give further idea about the procedure of divorce here.

The Virginia Divorce Steps start when the Plaintiff (or the Petitioner) drafts and files the Complaint. This document comprises of the following information:

  • Vital statistics of the parties
  • Vital statistics of the marriage
  • Certain technical issues
  • Request to the court to grant a divorce
  • Request to the court regarding how the Petitioner desires the court to settle the divorce issues
  • Identifying details of the parties

The Petitioner serves the Complaint and a Subpoena to the Respondent. The Subpoena is a divorce document that conveys the following information:

  • A divorce lawsuit has been filed
  • The particular person has been named the Defendant
  • The Defendant has been allotted 21 days to file a Response
  • The ground and explanation of the ground on which the divorce has been filed

The court clerk dispatches these documents to the Sheriff of the jurisdiction where the Defendant lives. Further, the Sheriff or the deputy of the Sheriff executes the service. The receipt of such service has to be obtained without fail, as it serves as an evidence in the court.

Defenses provided by the Defendant in an Answer

While drafting the Answer, the Defendant might use the following ways:

  • Time Barred: The alleged behavior happened long ago and is too remote in time to be utilized as a ground of divorce. So, the defendant can decline the allegations put on him or her
  • Reconciliation: The Defendant has an intention of residing together again so he or she might refuse the terms and grounds for divorce
  • Recrimination: The allegations that have been made by the Petitioner have been performed by the Petitioner also. In other words, both the Petitioner and the Respondent behaved in the same way. So, the respondent may file a counter-complaint against the petitioner
  • Condonation: Although, the allegation is true, the Petitioner has been forgiven for it. This can be proved by furnishing evidence that after the action mentioned in the allegation, the Petitioner and Respondent had sexual relations
  • Denial: The action in the allegation never took place or at the minimum, the Respondent does not admit that such a thing occurred. So, the defendant may completely decline the claims of the applicant

Virginia Divorce Steps regarding Discovery Phase

During the Discovery Phase, the following divorce steps are permissible:

  • Deposition: This means a face to face questioning of the divorcing partners and / or witnesses in the presence of a court reporter
  • Request for Production of Documents: The opponent's lawyer demands specific documents or papers that includes financial statements including bank account details , income details, debt reports, credit reports and property related documentation
  • Interrogatories: These are questions submitted in written form and that are expected to be answered by the opposite party within the said period of time

Steps in Uncontested Depositions

  • There is possibly no requirement that the Petitioner must testify in court
  • The Petitioner, accompanied by a witness, must be present in the lawyer's office for testifying the no-fault grounds of the divorce
  • The lawyer types this testimony and sends the written document to the judge
  • The above process is called as a deposition
  • In some specific jurisdictions (particularly South-side Hampton Roads cities and Hampton), the deposition is executed in the presence of a quasi-judge person named a Commissioner in Chancery
  • This Commissioner hears the testimonies of the Petitioner and the witness
  • The Commissioner recommends to the judge if the Petitioner has proved the divorce grounds
  • This method (of the Commissioner) is rather costly. However, the divorcing partners do not have any other alternative

Final Divorce Step

The Judge performs the following:

  • Hears all the testimonies
  • Reviews all the evidence
  • Ascertains the technical and substantive requirements of granting the divorce

After due consideration of all the above points, the judge signs the divorce decree, if the judge is satisfied that all requirements of a divorce have been fulfilled. After a divorce is finalized, the terms on which a separation has taken place, comes into effect.

This is the way in which a divorce procedure is followed in Virginia. Virginia divorce steps make sure that the legalities are fulfilled in the proper manner by applicants.

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