It is all but impossible to predict the timeline for a litigated Virginia divorce. The volume of current cases demanding the attention of a Virginia family law judge is one key factor. The number of disputed terms that a judge must review is another main consideration. Each case is unique, and it is only possible to estimate how long the process may take.
The timeline for an uncontested divorce is a bit more predictable. If spouses agree on certain terms, their divorce won’t require much judicial review. However, they must still comply with Virginia family law statutes. An uncontested divorce typically involves far less conflict, costs less and allows people to set their own terms for property division and custody matters.
How long does the average uncontested divorce take?
No-fault divorces have a mandatory waiting period
Spouses in Virginia have the option of filing either a no-fault divorce or a divorce based on specific grounds. Fault-based divorces involve allegations of misconduct like abuse or infidelity and may lead to significant conflict in court as spouses argue about said misconduct. An uncontested divorce does not require that either spouse prove that the other did something inappropriate. The claim is instead that the marriage has broken down to a point where it is no longer sustainable. While Virginia does allow no-fault divorces, they are not necessarily a fast and easy option.
No-fault divorces require a lengthy separation before the courts can finalize the divorce. Whether or not the couple has children together determines how long they have to live separately before the courts can finalize a no-fault divorce. Those with minor children typically need to remain separated for at least a year before they are eligible for a no-fault divorce filing.
Those without any minor children at home must separate for at least six months prior to qualify for no-fault divorce. It is only after waiting six months or a year depending on personal circumstances that people become eligible to file a no-fault divorce. The actual date of the final hearing in front of the judge could take a while to schedule depending on how many other family law matters demand the attention of the courts.
Learning more about the rules for Virginia divorce may help people make more informed decisions about when to file and what to expect during the divorce process.