If you’re considering a divorce in Virginia Beach, you have a right to know what will happen throughout the process. Filing for divorce initiates what can be an emotional, contentious, and complicated process, one that involves a series of steps that will result in the end of your marriage. We’ll explore those steps now. If you have any questions that aren’t answered here, contact the Virginia Beach divorce attorneys at Invictus Law for an initial consultation.
What Happens After Divorce Papers are Filed?
After you or your spouse has filed for divorce, the process to finalize your separation begins. The spouse who filed for divorce will need to notify the other spouse that they have filed for divorce by properly serving them with papers. The act of properly serving a spouse involves having a sheriff or neutral third party deliver notice of the divorce. How the remaining divorce process goes and how long it lasts will be based on a few factors.
First, on what grounds did you or your spouse file for divorce? Virginia law states that when you file for divorce, you must base your divorce on the grounds that either one of you did something to cause the breakdown of the marriage (in the case of a fault-based divorce) or that neither of you caused your marriage to end (in the case of a no-fault divorce).
Second, is your divorce contested or uncontested? Contested means that you and your spouse disagree on some aspect of your separation agreement — such as on issues of child custody or support, spousal maintenance and support, or how your property will be divided. Uncontested means that you and your spouse have no disagreement about the arrangement of your divorce.
Both an at-fault and a no-fault divorce can be uncontested or contested. The type of divorce you’re involved in can provide a guide as to how long it may take for your divorce to be complete.
After being served with notice, the responding spouse has 21 days to respond with a court filing as to whether or not they will contest the divorce.
If you or your spouse filed a no-fault divorce, the divorce is most likely to be uncontested, particularly if you have no children together. You will then file a separation agreement with the court in order to be granted the divorce with a final decree.
If you or your spouse filed a fault-based divorce but neither spouse contests the divorce, you and your spouse will have an initial hearing where the judge will view your case and then schedule a final hearing for judgment granting your divorce. If you or your spouse filed a fault-based divorce and the other spouse contests it, then you will have an initial hearing where a judge determines what issues need to be resolved in the divorce. They will then set future court dates to hear arguments regarding the issues from both spouses before they provide a decision.
How a Lawyer Could Help
A divorce attorney can help you navigate the divorce process from the moment you decide to file for divorce or are served with papers. If your divorce is uncontested, the Virginia divorce attorneys at Invictus Law can help you dissolve your marriage as quickly and as amicably as possible. If your divorce is contested, they will be ready to fight vigorously for your best interests and to help you seek the best outcome in your divorce proceedings. Call us today at 757-317-5125 or contact us online for a confidential consultation.