Their written separation agreement also must include an adequate solution to the future custody and support of their children. The separation agreement lays the framework for an uncontested divorce. But as you can see, this can be mentally and emotionally complicated.
Living Separate and Apart
You may want to seek a financial advisor and a divorce lawyer to help you produce this document in a way that ensures the best outcome for all involved. With an uncontested divorce, a couple essentially has no separation agreement. But once a spouse meets the legal requirements for filing a divorce, the process becomes fairly straight forward. The plaintiff files the actual complaint which typically contains the following information:. Afterward, the defendant submits a response admitting or denying the claims. The accused can also file a counterclaim. An uncontested divorce typically takes two to three months before a judge finalizes it.
Contested divorces usually take about 18 months. And if no party makes an appeal, contested divorces solidify 30 days after a judge signs the final decree. During a divorce proceeding in Virginia, a judge will take a holistic look at all marital property involved before dividing it between the two spouses. This includes physical property such as a home or family car, as well as financial assets such as retail investments, brokerage accounts and even outstanding debt. Virginia divorce laws generally define marital property as acquired or earned during marriage. It defines separate property as property earned or acquired individually before the marriage.
This can also include a gift made directly to an individual or a family heirloom passed down directly to an individual spouse even if that spouse was married. An inheritance passed down to an individual also qualifies as separate property. However, separate property can become marital property during the course of a marriage. But after the judge differentiates property including financial assets as marital and separate, he or she will move on to divide these assets as fairly as the court deems fit.
The judge will consider several factors such as liquidity of each asset and who has contributed a larger share. In addition, Virginia divorce laws also govern how the court may divide outstanding debt. The court can consider the following factors when making a decision. Just as with financial assets, a judge determines what physical property is martial and which is separate under Virginia divorce laws.
The court then measures the value of this property and divides it based on a system of equitable distribution. This means the judge takes a holistic look at the entire financial picture of both spouses involved and divides property as fairly as possible under Virginia divorce laws. The court may consider several factors when determining how to divide physical property such as a family house. If the couple had children who live in the home, for instance, the judge typically favors the spouse who provided the most childcare. But even bad behavior can play a role here.
So in a case of adultery or harm, the person affected can gain stake in how the court evaluates his or her share of marital property. Meanwhile, a spouse can also lose stake if he or she reduced the value of a contested piece of property.
For example, a partner who intentionally wrecked the family car may have to pay for it down the road. If alimony is involved, Virginia divorce laws allow spouses to decide on the amount and its duration. They can outline these details in their separation agreement as described above. Virginia divorce laws allow any spouse to request spousal support from the other to prevent financial hardship. The court will determine whether alimony is just by considering the needs and economic conditions of both parties involved.
And even though divorce laws in Virginia are not designed to punish the person who may have had the most fault in causing the divorce, the court considers all factors that made the marriage go south. In some cases, bad behavior such as adultery and other acts listed under Virginia divorce laws means the victim can be spared from making any spousal support.
However, divorce laws in Virginia allow some exceptions. If you make considerably more money than your spouse, for instance, you may be liable for spousal support, even if your partner cheated on you.
Virginia Divorce Laws - FindLaw
But if the court justifies spousal support, it moves forward with deciding the amount and duration. It also determines how long payments should be made and how often. In all cases, the judge would consider several factors. We have listed some examples below:. If the receiving spouse experiences a material change such as a loss of a job, Virginia divorce laws permit him or her to request an increase in payments. The court would grant or deny that request based on some of the same factors it determined when initiating spousal support.
In fact, the courts will use the same guidelines to determine child support terms and conditions. Under Virginia state law, both parents must contribute to the support of their child regardless of marital status. So, the child support amount is based on the combined income of both parents. However, the law assumes the custodial parent who lives with the child already provides most of this support.
This is why the other parent must make child support payments. The court will look at how and when marital property was acquired, the length of the marriage, the age and health condition of each spouse, debts and which property the debts encumber, tax consequences, and whether an item is liquid — cash being the most liquid asset, while real estate or stock in a company are among the least liquid because they tend to take longer to convert to cash.
The court will also factor in bad behavior. Spousal support is a payment from one spouse to the other to help the recipient spouse maintain a lifestyle as close as possible to the one they had during marriage. In Virginia, the court will look at how much of the marital property went to each spouse before deciding whether and how much alimony is appropriate.
Among other factors, the court will consider fault. A spouse who is at fault in ending the marriage may pay higher support as a result, or find support reduced for that reason. The information provided on this site is not legal advice, does not constitute a lawyer referral service, and no attorney-client or confidential relationship is or will be formed by use of the site. The attorney listings on this site are paid attorney advertising.
In some states, the information on this website may be considered a lawyer referral service.
A Guide to Filing for Divorce in Virginia
Search Term. Virginia Divorce: Dividing Property. Find out how courts in Virginia divide marital property and assets during a divorce. Only Marital Property will be Divided In a divorce, the distribution of property depends on which property belongs to the marriage — marital property — and which property belongs to each of the two spouses — separate property. Factors Considered in Dividing Property In order to divide property, the court must characterize any disputed item of property as marital or separate, and evaluate the property's value, usually using information provided by the spouses.
Spousal Support Determined Separately Spousal support is a payment from one spouse to the other to help the recipient spouse maintain a lifestyle as close as possible to the one they had during marriage.