Determining Factors in the Timeline of a Divorce in Virginia

By: John Whitbeck


How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced in Virginia?

Virginia law requires divorcing individuals to live apart from their spouse for at least a year before filing for divorce – or six months if no minor children are involved, and the couple signed a separation agreement.

Typically, it takes less time to finalize an uncontested divorce in Virginia. A couple can pursue an uncontested divorce in Virginia if both parties agree on the terms of separation, and there are no major disputes regarding child custody, division of assets, debts, alimony, and other aspects.

You can speed up the divorce process in Virginia by requesting to have your case heard by affidavit instead of attending court hearings. These three factors affect exactly how long your Virginia divorce will take:

  1. The schedule of the judge assigned to your divorce case (a judge will have to review and approve your written deposition that summarized your situation);
  2. How quickly you can reach a settlement with your spouse; and
  3. How long the family law court takes to process your divorce case.

Note: If there are no significant disputes regarding the terms of your separation between you and your spouse, your divorce case could be processed within eight weeks after submitting the written deposition.

Why Contested Divorce Takes Longer

It takes more time to finalize a contested divorce in Virginia. Grounds for contested or fault-based divorce in Virginia include:

  • Cruelty or bodily hurt
  • Adultery
  • Felony convictions
  • Willful desertion or abandonment

Each of these grounds requires the accusing spouse to demonstrate proof. While filing for fault-based divorce in Virginia can prolong the process of divorce, proving that your spouse was at fault can be beneficial for alimony and division of property.

In the course of the discovery phase of fault-based divorce, spouses need to exchange information, often in the form of a deposition executed under oath. During this phase, the family law court will decide the terms of separation.

Contested or uncontested, it takes longer to finalize divorce when parties have disagreements and arguments regarding child custody and other aspects of the divorce. Contact the divorce attorneys at WhitbeckBennett, to estimate the divorce timeline in your case. If you need assistance with a divorce, contact WhitbeckBennett by calling 800-516-3964 or email clientservices@wblaws.com.

Related: Divorce