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How long will it take to finalize a divorce that is uncontested? Does one have to be "separated" before receiving a final divorce?

1 Answers. Asked on Jun 16th, 2012 on Divorce - Virginia
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Our marriage is in a state of irreconcilable differences due to six years of verbal and emotional abuse. It will not be contested. Do I need to remove myself from our home before I can file for a divorce?
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Answered on Jun 19th, 2012 at 12:04 AM

In order to obtain a no-fault divorce in Virginia, you do have to be separated for at least one year OR six-months if you have no children and sign a written property settlement agreement.  Once the separation period is over, the divorce itself can be done as quickly as within a few weeks, if both parties are cooperative.  While it is possible to claim a separation while you are still living in the same home, I recommend against it.  It can be difficult to prove and you risk that your divorce will not be granted and you will have to start all over again.  Every divorce in Virginia must be corroborated by an independent witness and so it really comes down to how good your witness is about verifying the living situation.  If you share one address, the witness must be someone who visits regularly or who lives in the house, such as a roommate, relative, or tenant. 

This answer is given in accordance with the laws of Virginia and may not be applicable in any other state.  It should not be construed as legal advice, as that would require a more thorough analysis of all of the facts involved in a specific case.  If you need further information or assistance, please feel free to contact my office for a consultation.


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Ending a marriage is more than just an emotional process--it's also a legal process. The court must approve your "dissolution of marriage" petition, and will also rule on issues related to the division of property, alimony (also known as spousal support or maintenance), child custody and child support. A divorce or family law attorney can help guide you through the divorce process, while also negotiating with your soon-to-be ex-spouse and his or her divorce lawyer. It's important to note that ethics laws prohibit the same law firm or attorney from representing both spouses in a divorce. Even if your divorce is an amicable one, it's critical to have your own legal representation to ensure that you're treated fairly at all stages of the divorce proceeding.
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