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There are two types of divorce in Virginia: divorce a mensa et thoro ("bed and board," essentially, legal separation with no right to remarry) and divorce a vinculo matrimonii (absolute divorce). Parties can divorce through an uncontested (also known as "no-fault") process where both parties have lived separate and apart for one year (six months if there are no children).
In Virginia, divorce may be also be sought on fault grounds: adultery, cruelty, or a disclosure of a previously unknown felony conviction before marriage.
In the District of Columbia, there are no fault grounds for divorce -- you may seek one only if the parties mutually and voluntary live separate and apart for six months, or one year in case of involuntary separation.
Separating spouses can use uncontested divorce if there are no issues in dispute. However, when a couple disagrees on some or all major issues that will affect the rest of their lives, negotiation will be necessary to come to an agreement. The least desirable outcome, litigation, is a highly adversarial and potentially costly solution if the parties cannot reach an agreement through negotiation.
For an uncontested divorce, the parties must agree on the following issues:
1. Division of property
2. Division of debts
3. Custody and visitation of children (if any)
4. Child support (if applicable)
5. Spousal support
Same-sex divorce in D.C.
In the District of Columbia, laws governing divorce are applicable to legally married gay couples. An exception is that any gay couple legally married in D.C. can get a divorce in D.C. Superior Court even if neither spouse is still a legal resident of D.C.
We can help you to determine if uncontested divorce is appropriate for you. If it is, we can help you obtain one for a flat fee or other cost-effective means. Call us for a consultation at (571) 393-1236, or send us an e-mail.
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