DivorceWriter logo
Home About Us
Woman Computer

Virginia Divorce Self-Help Center

Many customer Virginia divorce questions are answered here.  Browse from the topics below or use the search box to narrow your search.
Search Categories (check the categories to include in your search)
General Information State Procedures   Custody, Visitation, Support
  Property and Debts   Special Circumstances Additional Resources
How long does it usually take to finalize a divorce in Virginia? 1457
In a no-fault Virginia divorce, the spouses must be separated for the required amount of time before they file for divorce--one (1) year if the spouses have minor or legally dependent children together or six (6) months if they do not. Beyond that pre-filing requirement, an uncontested divorce in Virginia, where both spouses agree on all issues and are willing to sign the necessary documents, can be completed in as little as three to six weeks from the divorce filing date, depending on how quickly the Clerk can schedule the divorce hearing.
How much is the filing fee in Virginia? 1454
The filing fee charged by the Court is NOT included in the DivorceWriter price. The fee for filing for divorce in Virginia varies from county to county, but is typically $80.00-$90.00.
What are the basic steps to getting a divorce in Virginia? 1446
1) File the Complaint with the Circuit Court Clerk and pay the filing fee of approximately $80.00-$90.00.
2) File the remaining documents with the Clerk after they have been signed by you and your spouse.
3) The spouse who filed for divorce attends a hearing with a corroborating witness. After both have given testimony, the Judge signs the Final Decree of Divorce of Marriage, which ends the marriage.
What is a corroborating witness? 1453
Plaintiff is required to bring a corroborating witness to the ore tenus hearing. In the alternative, in counties that allow depositions to be filed in lieu of a hearing, the corroborating witness will sign a deposition in front of a Notary Public swearing to the same facts that he or she would have testified to at a hearing. If your Clerk requests depositions, DivorceWriter will provide them upon request a no additional charge. The Clerk will advise you if depositions are required.

The corroborating witness can be any adult, other than Plaintiff or Defendant, who is at least 18 years of age and who has direct knowledge of the matters concerning the marriage of the Plaintiff and Defendant such as whether they are indeed living separate and apart. His or her knowledge must be based on something more than the information given to the witness in preparation for the hearing/deposition.

The filing procedures included in your DivorceWriter package will include more information on the corroborating witness requirement.
What are the grounds for filing for divorce in Virginia? 1408
The two most common grounds are no-fault divorces based upon either a six (6) month separation or a one (1) year separation, depending on whether the spouses have minor children together. Spouses that have minor children together may file for divorce once they have lived separate and apart without any cohabitation and without interruption for one (1) year. Spouses with no minor children together may file for divorce once they have lived separately and apart without cohabitation and without interruption for six (6) months and have entered into a separation agreement.

Note that in any no-fault divorce you and your spouse must have been separated for the required amount of time prior to filing for divorce. For more information on grounds for divorce in Virginia, see Virginia Code Sec. 20-91 and Virginia Code Sec. 20-95. If you intend to file for divorce on a ground other than no-fault, DivorceWriter may not be an option.
Do we have to be separated to get a divorce in Virginia? 1403
The separation date is the day that the spouses began living apart without cohabitation and without interruption.

To be separated, the parties must have mutually agreed that they are no longer living together as husband and wife and neither must have any intent to reconcile. This does not necessarily mean separate households, but if both spouses remain living in the same home, separation may be more difficult to prove. If the spouses chose to remain under one roof while living separate and apart, Plaintiff will generally need at least one independent witness, such as a friend or family member who visits the home frequently, to testify that the spouses have been living separate and apart. The legal requirement for living separate and apart before filing requires at least separate sleeping arrangements and a lack of any physical relationship during the entire separation period--one year for spouses who have minor or legally dependent children together and six months for those that do not.

Any additional questions regarding the separation requirement should be directed to an attorney licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction.
How do I serve my spouse with the divorce papers in Virginia? 996
A defendant may accept service of process by signing an Acceptance/Waiver in front of a Notary Public. This document has the same effect as if it had been served upon the defendant by a person authorized to serve process. The filing of an Acceptance/Waiver bearing Defendant's notarized signature allows the Court to finalize the divorce without any further contact with the Defendant. Virginia Code Sec. 20-99.1:1. In either case, the Defendant must sign the document after the Plaintiff has filed for divorce.
Will either of us be required to attend a court hearing? 972
Yes. The spouse that filed for divorce (Plaintiff) is required to attend an Ore Tenus hearing. He or she must bring a corroborating witness, other than Plaintiff or Defendant, to testify briefly to basic facts concerning the Plaintiff's marriage.
What documents are included in the self-prepared Virginia DivorceWriter package? 1455
In addition to Virginia filing procedures, your self-prepared Virginia DivorceWriter package will include:
  • Complaint
  • Property Settlement and Separation Agreement
  • Acceptance/Waiver of Service of Process
  • Request for Ore Tenus Hearing
  • Final Decree (to resume a former last name)
  • Addendum for Protected Identifying
Customers with minor and/or legally dependent children will also receive:
  • UCCJEA Affidavit
  • Child Support Worksheet
In the online interview you will also be able to select a Name Change Order, Income Deduction Order, and/or Waiver of Rights Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (if the Defendant is active duty in the military).
Can I change my name in Virginia divorce proceedings? 1615
In Virginia, a spouse is entitled to resume either a maiden name or a former name through the divorce proceedings. The Clerk will charge an additional fee for recording a name change, which usually ranges between $120.00-$150.00. Virginia Code Sec. 20-121.4
What happens after I receive my self-prepared Virginia DivorceWriter package? 1632
Along with your self-prepared Virginia DivorceWriter package, you will receive written pro... more
What are the Virginia residency requirements for filing for divorce? 1425
To obtain a divorce in Virginia, one of the spouses must have lived in Virginia for at least six (6) months before the day the divorce is filed. Virginia Code Sec. 20-97

The county of filing may be:
  • The county in which the spouses last resided together;
  • The county where the defendant resides, if the defendant is a resident of Virginia;
  • The county or city where the plaintiff resides, if the Defendant is a nonresident of Virginia.
Virginia Code Sec. 8.01-261
Where do I file the divorce documents in Virginia? 1360
In Virginia, divorces are filed at the Circuit Court Clerk's office.
The Court has asked for an affidavit or deposition under Virginia Code Sec. 20-106. What is that? 3769
This document is sometimes referred to as a Virginia Code Sec. 20-91(A)(9) affidavit or deposition. The Court is letting you know that you may finalize your divorce by deposition rather than by going to the courthouse for an ore tenus hearing. Virginia Code Sec. 20-106 sets forth the requirements for finalizing a divorce by the sworn deposition of the Plaintiff and the Plaintiff's witness.

To obtain the deposition form free of charge, send your request to info@DivorceWriter.com. You will receive an e-mail containing all of the standard documents you received previously in your document package as well as all of our available supplemental forms for Virginia, which begin with the number 888. Among them will be a document containing Plaintiff and witness depositions. Detailed instructions for finalizing a divorce by deposition are included in your Virginia DivorceWriter filing procedures.
Can a Notary Public take my deposition? 3078
Yes. In Virginia, depositions may be taken before any person authorized by law to administer oaths and Virginia Notaries Public are authorized to administer oaths.

For more information, see also Virginia Supreme Court Rule 4:3 Persons Before Whom Depositions May Be Taken: (a) Within this Commonwealth. Within this Commonwealth depositions may be taken before any person authorized by law to administer oaths, and if certified by his hand may be received without proof of the signature to such certificate. See also Virginia Code Annotated, §47.1-12, as amended, in Virginia, a Notary Public is a person legally empowered to witness and certify documents and to take affidavits. A notary (i) takes acknowledgments, (ii) administers oaths, (iii) certifies that a copy of any document, other than a document in the custody of a court, is a true copy thereof, (iv) certifies affidavits or depositions of witnesses, and (v) performs such other acts as may be specifically permitted by law.

Despite the above-referenced rules, some people occasionally encounter difficulties locating a Notary Public who will take a deposition and sometimes are told that an attorney must be present for the taking of a deposition. If you encounter such a difficulty in your city/county, you may wish to contact the Court Clerk in an attempt to locate the names of individuals in your area who will take depositions for persons representing themselves in divorce. In the alternative, you may need to follow the procedures for divorce by Ore Tenus hearing instead of by deposition as set forth in Step 4a of the Virginia Divorce Filing Procedures included with your DivorceWriter package.
Ready to Begin now?
How is child support calculated in Virginia? 1431
Based on the information provided by the customer when completing this online interview, a computer generated Child Support Worksheet is automatically created and sent to the customer as part of the DivorceWriter package.

Additional information on child support in Virginia is available at: Virginia Code Sec. 20-108.2.
Will we be able to customize our documents to fit our specific custody and visitation arrangement? 1444
DivorceWriter accommodates parents who want to share joint legal custody while designating... more
What if my spouse and I have agreed to a child support amount that is different from the standard amount? 1443
See Virginia Code Sec. 20-108.1, which provides a list of 14 different factors, one or more of which may be used to justify a child support amount that is different than the guideline amount.

The DivorceWriter online interview shows you the child support calculation under the guidelines. Then, the customer chooses whether to use the guideline calculation or to deviate from that calculation by entering a different child support amount as well a reason for using a different amount.
What are the different types of custody in Virginia? 1430
The following are examples of joint custody:
  • Joint legal custody where both parents retain joint responsibility for the care and control of the child and joint authority to make decisions concerning the child even though the child's primary residence may be with only one parent;
  • Joint physical custody where both parents share physical and custodial care of the child; OR
  • Any combination of joint legal and joint physical custody which the court deems to be in the best interest of the child.

With sole custody, on the other hand, one parent retains responsibility for the care and control of a child and has primary authority to make decisions concerning the child. Virginia Code Sec. 20-124.1
What is an Income Deduction Order? 1469
If you or your spouse wants to have child support payments withheld from the paycheck of the parent that must pay support, an Income Deduction Order must be filed and sent to the employer by the Court. This document orders the employer to withhold support payments and send them to the Virginia Department of Social Services Division of Child Support Enforcement.

If no Income Deduction Order is issued, the payor parent will make the payments to the Division of Child Support Enforcement directly without the income withholding.
I received a notice indicating that the issues of child support, custody, visitation and/or spousal support must be ordered transferred to a specific Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court pursuant to Sec. 20-79(c). What do I do? 3403
While the language of the statute is discretionary, some jurisidictions may occasionally require the case to be transferred to the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court in the county or city where the divorce case was heard. If your court has instructed you that transfer language must be included in your Final Decree of Divorce, please note that your documents may be downloaded in Microsoft Word and self-customized as needed.

Example: "IT IS ADJUDGED, ORDERED, and DECREED that the issues of child support, custody, and visitation are transferred to the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court for the County/City of (enter county/city where divorce case was filed.)"

Below is the full text of Sec. 20-79(c):
In any suit for divorce or suit for maintenance and support, the court may after a hearing, pendente lite, or in any decree of divorce a mensa et thoro, decree of divorce a vinculo matrimonii, final decree for maintenance and support, or subsequent decree in such suit, transfer to the juvenile and domestic relations district court the enforcement of its orders pertaining to support and maintenance for the spouse, maintenance, support, care and custody of the child or children. After the entry of a decree of divorce a vinculo matrimonii the court may transfer to the juvenile and domestic relations district court any other matters pertaining to support and maintenance for the spouse, maintenance, support, care and custody of the child or children on motion by either party, and may so transfer such matters before the entry of such decree on motion joined in by both parties. In the transfer of any matters referred to herein, the court may, upon the motion of any party, or on its own motion, and for good cause shown, transfer any matters covered by said decree or decrees to any juvenile and domestic relations district court within the Commonwealth that constitutes a more appropriate forum. An appeal of an order by such juvenile and domestic relations district court which is to enforce or modify the decree in the divorce suit shall be as provided in § 16.1-296.
Ready to Begin now?
What options do we have for our real estate? 1887
The DivorceWriter provides an array of options for disposing of your real estate, includin... more
Ready to Begin now?
What if one spouse is in the military? 1429
  • If a member of the armed forces of the United States has been stationed or resided in Virginia and has lived for a period of six months or more in Virginia before the filing of the divorce, then such person shall be presumed to be a resident of Virginia during that period of time.
  • Being stationed or residing in Virginia includes, but is not limited to, a member of the armed forces being stationed or residing upon a ship having its home port in Virginia or at an air, naval or military base located within Virginia over which the United States enjoys exclusive federal jurisdiction.
  • Any member of the armed forces of the United States who (i) at the time the divorce is filed is stationed in any territory or foreign country and (ii) was living in Virginia for the six month period immediately preceding his or her being stationed in such territory or country, shall be deemed to have been a resident of Virginia during the six months before the divorce filing.
Virginia Code Sec. 20-97

What if one spouse is living in a foreign country? 733
If your spouse is able to receive documents in the mail and is willing to sign and return ... more
Ready to Begin now?
If unable to find help on this page, issues of a non-legal nature may be directed to customer service.
© 2016 Pro Se Planning, Inc. All rights reserved. Terms of Use | 100% Guarantee | Privacy | Help Center - Contact | Sitemap
DivorceWriter.com™ is the leading self-help divorce document web site.
However, this site does not provide legal advice and use of this site is
not a substitute for hiring an attorney licensed to practice in your state.