While it is much easier, faster, and cheaper to get divorced in Virginia if you and your spouse agree on the terms and cooperate with each other, you can still have a divorce finalized by the court without your spouse’s cooperation. If this is the situation you find yourself in, family and divorce attorney James Short can help you throughout the process. Learn more about how to file for divorce here.
No Separation Agreement? Divorce Is Still Possible
An ideal divorce in Virginia is one in which the spouses agree that the marriage is over and are willing to negotiate a separation agreement that spells out how everything will be divided. The next step is an uncontested, no-fault divorce. However, you do not need a separation agreement before filing for divorce. In fact, if your spouse is refusing to cooperate in the process, there is no way you will get them to sign a separation agreement. Your next move will be to file for divorce.
Two Types of Divorce in Virginia
If you have grounds for a fault-based divorce, you can file with no mandatory waiting period. Some of the reasons for a fault-based divorce include adultery, cruelty, apprehension of bodily harm, desertion, abandonment, and felony conviction. If you don’t have grounds, you will have to be separated from your spouse for a full year before you can file for divorce.
Whether it is a fault or no-fault divorce, you do not need your spouse’s signature or verbal agreement to file. Once you file the complaint and the divorce is opened with the court, your spouse will be served with the complaint and will have 21 days to respond. If they don’t respond, the court will proceed with the divorce without requiring any further input from your spouse.
If your spouse does respond, things can get heated and drag out, but you will have the court behind you to keep the process moving.
Don’t Attempt This Without an Attorney
Divorce is never easy, but it is an uphill battle if you are fighting with an uncooperative spouse. You will need legal advice every step of the way. With a lawyer on your side, you might even be able to convince your spouse that it is in their best interest to come to the table and participate in the negotiation. Otherwise, it will become a costly battle, and you will both be at the mercy of the courts to make major decisions for you.
The sooner you consult a Virginia family law attorney in your divorce journey, the more likely it is that you will be in a good position to get what you want out of the divorce. Whether you are still at the contemplation stage or are knee-deep in a break-up, call our Chesapeake office for help. We will help you avoid common mistakes and take the next steps towards freedom from an unhappy marriage.