Laws can be complicated and hard to understand. Because each court has its own specific practice and procedure that is different than another court’s, and because each judge has his or her own preferences, maneuvering your way through the court system can be frustrating and confusing.
When it comes to divorce, you may choose between two types of divorces: a contested divorce or an uncontested divorce.
In an uncontested divorce, the parties come to a reasonable agreement, either by themselves or with the help of a mediator and agree to all matters relating to the marriage. This may include, for example, division of assets, real estate property, marital debt, child custody, visitation, child support, and spousal support.
A contested divorce can be a fault-based divorce and usually occurs when the parties cannot agree to some or all of the matters relating to the marriage. This may include, for example, division of assets, real estate property, marital debt, child custody, visitation, child support, and spousal support.
Contested divorces are significantly more expensive than uncontested divorces and take significantly longer to finalize. Legal fees can climb into the tens of thousands of dollars and important final decisions may be made by a judge—a virtual stranger to the parties. Thus, many people strongly prefer to get uncontested divorces whenever possible.Can you get an uncontested divorce?
Yes, if you have children and meet the following two conditions:
- You have been separated and apart from the other party for more than one year, continuously and without interruption; and
- You have an agreement in place which addresses all matters relating to your marriage, including division of marital assets, debts, child custody, visitation, child support and or spousal support.
If you have been living separate and apart continuously and uninterrupted under the same roof, you may still be able to get a divorce in Virginia as explained below.
Yes, if you have no children and meet both of the following two conditions:
- You have been separated and apart from the other party for more than six months, continuously and without interruption; and
- there are no unresolved issues between you and your spouse regarding your marriage, either because
- you and your spouse have both signed an agreement which addresses all matters relating to your marriage, including division of marital assets, debts, child custody, visitation, child support and or spousal support, or
- there is simply no property or debt between you and your spouse and there are no other matters to be resolved other than obtaining the divorce.
If you have been living separate and apart continuously and uninterrupted under the same roof; yes, if you meet the conditions above and:
- The parties do not share the same bedroom.
- The parties reside in different portions of the residence.
- The parties do not eat meals together.
- The parties do not buy groceries together.
- The parties do their own laundry.
- The parties do not present themselves to be a couple.
- The parties do not attend family functions together or celebrate holidays together.
In all cases, either you or the other party must be living in Virginia for six months or more to file in a Virginia court.
In conclusion, this can be a very stressful process. However, there is no need to make it any more stressful or expensive than necessary.
At Ashburn Law Office, PLC., we only do uncontested divorces, because we believe it usually serves the best interest of both parties. Many people who start a contested divorce eventually realize this; after they have endured a significant amount of stress and expense, that they should turn their process into an uncontested divorce.
We will draft Separation and Property Settlement Agreements for you and finalize your uncontested divorce. If you already have an agreement that a mediator drafted, then we will use that agreement to finalize your divorce. Fees for drafting Separation and Property Settlement Agreements vary depending on the complexity of your agreement; however, we charge a flat fee of $1,200.00 for your uncontested divorce. In return, you will have access via email or telephone to your own personal attorney (not a paralegal or secretary) who will at all times know the exact status of your case. You will have emails and telephones returned in a timely manner, and upon the finalization of your divorce, we can also help you put in order your estate planning documents. This is wise to do when you finalize a divorce; more generally, if you don’t have these documents already in place, this step is advisable when you start a new chapter of your life.
Our consultation fee is $300.00 for an hour. If you decide to retain us, this fee will go towards your attorney fees.
Contact Ashburn Law Office, PLC., for a consultation or to retain us for your family law cases.