VIRGINIA DIVORCE MADE EASY. DOCUMENTS DONE RIGHT!
VIRGINIA 3STEPDIVORCE TM - KEEPING YOUR UNCONTESTED DIVORCE SIMPLE
|This easy to use online divorce is a "do it yourself (without a lawyer)" solution for any uncontested divorce (with or without children) that will be filed in the state of Virginia. An uncontested divorce is one in which you and your spouse are in agreement and eliminates the stress and expense of settling your divorce in court.
With 3StepDivorce TM you can complete and print your Virigina divorce forms (including a marital settlement agreement) instantly. Then, follow our step-by-step filing procedures to file your own divorce in the state of Virginia in a timely, professional, and hassle free fashion. The online software is designed to give you full control of your divorce and also avoids the use of third party data entry, thus helping protect your personal information and privacy.
Online Divorce FAQ: Virginia
Filing for divorce can seem overwhelming. Like starting almost any other legal proceeding, it takes finding the right forms, filling out the forms properly, and understanding the court’s requirements for the next steps you’ll need to take.
Traditionally, most people have hired a lawyer to take care of all the legal matters in their divorce. But more and more couples are turning to another option that’s cheaper yet easier than figuring out everything on their own: filing for divorce online.
If you want to know more, read on for answers to some of the most common questions about online divorce in Virginia.
How Does Online Divorce Work in Virginia?
Virginia 3StepDivorce™ takes care of the divorce paperwork for you. Once you sign up for the service, you’ll answer some questions about your situation. Based on your responses to the questionnaire, Virginia 3StepDivorce™ will fill out the forms the state requires to start the divorce process, along with instructions for adding any further information that’s needed. You’ll be able to print out the forms yourself immediately or, if you prefer, get hard copies by mail.
Can I File for Divorce in Virginia?
Virginia has two basic requirements to file for divorce in the state: a residency requirement, and a legally recognized reason for ending your marriage.
What Are the Residency Requirements for Divorce in Virginia?
If you want to get divorced in Virginia, you or your spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least six months before you file your paperwork. (Va. Code § 20-97 (2022).)
Does Virginia Require a Long Separation Before Divorce?
Like all states, Virginia requires you to declare a legal reason (or “ground) for divorce in your initial paperwork. Unlike most other states, however, Virginia doesn’t allow you simply to state that your marriage is permanently broken or that you and your spouse have “irreconcilable differences.” If you want to file for a “no-fault” divorce, you and your spouse must have lived “separate and apart” for an uninterrupted period of time before you filed the initial paperwork. Generally, the separation must have lasted for at least a full year. But if you have a settlement agreement (more on that below) and no minor children with your spouse, you can get a divorce after six months of living separately. (Va. Code § 20-91(9) (2022).)
The only other legal grounds for divorce in Virginia are based on claims that your spouse engaged in certain kinds of misconduct, like adultery, desertion (for a year), or cruelty that causes fear of injury. But when you file for divorce based on one of these “fault” grounds, you’ll have to prove your claims in court proceedings, and your case won’t qualify as an “uncontested divorce” (more on that below).
Do I Need a Lawyer to File for Divorce in Virginia?
Many Virginians are finding that they can get through the process without the expense of hiring a lawyer if they’re filing for an “uncontested divorce” in the state. That means they’ve agreed with each other about all of the legal issues in their divorce, including:
child custody, visitation, and child support (if they have minor children).
If you still have disagreements with your spouse about these or any other issues involved in ending your marriage, you’ll have to file for a traditional, contested divorce. Because that will usually involve legal battles and presenting evidence and arguments at court hearings, it would be risky to pursue a contested divorce without a lawyer to navigate the process for you–especially if your spouse has an attorney.
Can I Use Virginia 3StepDivorce™ in My Situation?
You may use Virginia 3StepDivorce™ as long as you have an uncontested divorce, and you meet the state’s residency and separation requirements. You’ll need to have a written settlement agreement (known in Virginia as a “separation agreement” or “property settlement agreement”), signed by both you and your spouse, that covers all of the issues in your divorce. Virginia 3StepDivorce™ will create this agreement for you, based on your answers to the questionnaire—which serves as a guide for the provisions and options you should consider.
Virginia 3StepDivorce™ can also help if you aren’t ready to file for divorce—for instance, because you haven’t been separated long enough to qualify for a no-fault, uncontested divorce—but you want a separation agreement with your spouse. For instance, you might want to work out arrangements for support, custody of your children, who has to move out of the family home, and how to take care of the bills while you’re separated but still legally married.
What If My Spouse and I Can’t Agree on the Issues in Our Divorce?
Just because you haven’t been able to agree with your spouse about everything in your divorce, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go through an expensive and time-consuming contested divorce. You could try divorce mediation. If you’re able to resolve your disagreements with the mediator’s help, you can then use Virginia 3StepDivorce™ to prepare your written settlement agreement, along with the other divorce paperwork.
Can I Get an Online Divorce in Virginia If I Have Children?
Generally, you can use Virginia 3StepDivorce™ even when you have minor children with your spouse, as long as you agree on all of the issues related to your kids, including legal and physical custody, a parenting (visitation) schedule, child support, health and dental insurance, and tax deductions. Virginia 3StepDivorce™ will allow you to address these issues in your settlement agreement. We provide a standard parenting schedule, but you’ll be able to customize the schedule to meet your individual needs.
However, you won’t be able to address custody-related issues with Virginia 3StepDivorce™ if the affected child or children don’t meet the “home state” requirement. Usually, that means the child must have lived in Virginia with a parent (or a parent figure) during the entire six-month period before you file for divorce (or since birth if the child is younger than six months old). If you don’t meet the six-month rule, you should speak with an attorney to find out whether you might qualify for one of the complicated exceptions to this rule. (Va. Code § 20-146.12) (2022).)
How Will My Online Divorce in Virginia Deal With Child Support?
In Virginia, both parents have an obligation to support their children. And like all states, Virginia has child support guidelines for calculating how much support the parents should pay, based largely on their incomes and custody arrangements.
3StepDivorce™ provides the Virginia Child Support Guideline Worksheets, so you can easily calculate the state's guideline level of support. You and your spouse may agree to an amount of child support that differs from the guideline amount, but the judge will review your agreement to determine if the amount of support is reasonable and is in your children’s best interests.
In your settlement agreement, you and your spouse may include child support provisions that aren’t legally required, such as a parent’s contributions to private school tuition or the cost of a child’s college education. You may also agree on some specific future events that will trigger a change in child support, such as when you’ll no longer need to pay for child care.
Will We Be Able to Change the Amount of Child Support After Divorce?
After your divorce in Virginia is final, you (or your spouse) may request a change in the amount of child support, but you’ll need to show that your circumstances have changed significantly. The judge will review your request based on the same legal requirements for an original child support order.
If you want to save the time and expense of a court battle over a request to modify child support, you and your spouse may agree to a modification on your own. But you’ll need to submit your written modification agreement to the court, so that a judge will incorporate it in a new support order.
How Will Online Divorce Handle Property and Debts From Our Marriage?
When you fill out your questionnaire for Virginia 3StepDivorce™, you’ll answer a series of questions about your separate and marital property and debts, including how you’ll divide your marital property and allocate responsibility for payment of the marital debts.
What About the Family Home?
If you own a home with your spouse, your agreement can spell out what will happen to it when you get divorced. Here again, the questionnaire will include a few questions about the property and how you’ve chosen to deal with it, such as:
selling the house and splitting the proceeds
transferring ownership to one spouse, with the other spouse receiving money or other assets in exchange for that spouse’s share, or
continuing to own the property together while allowing one spouse to stay in the house for a period of time (and, if so, how you’ll handle paying the mortgage and other ongoing costs).
What About Retirement Accounts?
In your Virginia 3StepDivorce™, you may also agree on whether and how you’ll divide any retirement accounts that you and your spouse have, including 401(k)s, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and defined-benefit pensions.
If you started contributing to the retirement plan before you were married, you’ll start by figuring out how much of its current value is marital property and how much is your separate property. There are experts and firms that will do this for you (for a fee, of course). The service is usually known as a pension appraisal or valuation. You’ll almost always need this kind of expert help when you’re dealing with a defined-benefit pension.
Once you know the marital value of your work-related retirement accounts, the easiest way to handle the division of the assets is not to split them but to transfer other assets as an offset. Here’s how that works: Say you have a 401(k) through your job, and the marital portion of the account is worth $100,000. If you and your spouse agree to divide that portion down the middle, and you have other marital assets to divide (such as a regular savings account), your spouse could receive an extra $50,000 from those assets while you keep the entire 401(k). That way, you don’t have to hire another expert to prepare the kind of special order that’s needed to tell the 401(k) administrator how to divide the account.
The rules are different for IRAs. You may simply agree to have your spouse’s share transferred to another IRA account in that spouse’s name. (You’ll have to submit a special form to the bank, along with a copy of your divorce decree.)
Can I Get Alimony With an Online Divorce in Virginia?
You and your spouse may waive any right to alimony in your Virginia divorce, or you may agree on the specifics of alimony payments: who will pay, how much, and for how long. Your agreement may also state whether a court could modify alimony at any time in the future, and it could cover related issues like health insurance and life insurance.
How Do I File My Divorce Papers in Virginia?
When you get your completed forms with South Carolina 3StepDivorce™, your next step will be to take the paperwork for filing with the court clerk’s office in any of the Virginia circuit courts. However, if your spouse objects to the court where you filed (known as the “venue”), the court might transfer the case to the county or city:
where you last lived with your spouse as a married couple
where your spouse lives now (if that’s your second choice), or
if you weren’t able to serve your spouse personally with the divorce papers (as explained below), where you live.
(Va. Code § 8.01-261(19) (2022).)
(Learn more about the process of filing for divorce in Virginia.)
How Much Is Virginia’s Filing Fee for Divorce?
The court fee for filing divorce papers in Virginia varies from county to county, but it’s usually around $90. You can calculate the exact fees in any county by using Virginia's Circuit Court Civil Filing Fee Calculator.
What If I Can’t Afford to Pay the Divorce Filing Fee?
If you can’t afford the divorce filing fee, you may request a waiver by filing a Petition for Proceeding in No-Fault Divorce Without Payment of Fees or Costs. The court will let you know if you qualify for a waiver based on your income.
How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in Virginia?
Unlike many other states, Virginia doesn’t have a mandatory waiting period before you can get a final divorce. You should be able to get an uncontested divorce quickly, but the exact amount of time will depend on a few circumstances in your case.
For instance, if your spouse has agreed to accept the divorce papers directly from you (by signing an Acceptance/Waiver of Service of Process) and has signed all of the appropriate documents (including the settlement agreement and proposed final divorce decree), the court may schedule a hearing on your divorce as soon a time slot is available on the court’s docket.
And in some counties, you might be able to get a final uncontested divorce without having to attend a hearing, if you submit an affidavit. You may include the signed and notarized form when you file the rest of your paperwork for an uncontested divorce. (Va. Code § 20-99.1:1 (2022).) Check with the court clerk where you file your divorce papers to find out if this is an option for you.
How Can I Get More Help With Virginia Online Divorce?
Virginia 3StepDivorce™ provides unlimited, live, person-to-person support for customers. If you have any questions about how uncontested divorce works, call our Virginia Divorce Online Help Center at (888) 665-6782 (toll free), Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm (Pacific Time).
Please keep in mind that we are not lawyers and so cannot give out legal advice. If you have questions about Virginia law or need legal advice, we recommend that you contact an experienced family law attorney in your area.