Divorces can be a complicated and emotionally-charged situation for everyone involved. Disputes frequently arise between spouses regarding child support, spousal support, parenting time, visitation, and more. However, not all divorces are contested. In fact, many divorces are “no-fault” divorces, also known as uncontested divorces. Virginia recently enacted a new law that makes it easier for couples to get a no-fault divorce within the state.
Below, we’ll go over what no-fault divorces look like in Virginia, what the new law says, and how that new law can benefit you.
What is a No-Fault Divorce in Virginia?
The Commonwealth of Virginia permits no-fault divorces, which allows spouses to initiate divorce proceedings without blaming one another for specific grievances that led to the divorce. For many couples, the reason for divorce is simply “irreconcilable differences.” There are many benefits to a no-fault divorce, including faster and less costly legal proceedings.
The general requirements for a no-fault divorce in Virginia are:
- The two spouses must have lived separately for a period of at least one year if they have kids.
- They must have been separated for six months if they do not have children and have executed a marital settlement agreement resolving all issues. They must also supply the court with the agreement that outlines how they would like to divide property, share parenting duties, and much more.
In the past, couples filing for no-fault divorces also had to have a corroborating witness sign an affidavit. The witness would essentially corroborate the two spouses’ reasons for divorce. This person was usually a close friend or family member who would have inside knowledge of the relationship and the circumstances surrounding the separation. The state has required corroborating witnesses in Virginia-based divorces since the 19th century.
What Does the New Virginia Law Say?
The new Virginia law (Virginia Code Section 20-106) makes no-fault divorces easier for couples. Now, couples no longer have to present a corroborating witness to get an uncontested divorce.
The new law went into effect on July 1, 2021, thanks to efforts from divorce petitioners and activists. Opponents of the original law agree that the corroborating witness requirement was invasive. It required the witness to disclose incredibly private information regarding the nature of a couple’s relationship. Most states do not require corroborating witnesses, and many in Virginia saw the original law as outdated.
The new law will benefit couples getting no-fault divorces in a number of ways. For one, it will help speed up the legal process, which also reduces attorneys’ fees and other costs to the plaintiff or defendant.
Corroborating witnesses are still mandated for any couple seeking an at-fault, or contested, divorce. If you have questions about the requirements for a no-fault divorce, a knowledgeable divorce attorney can help.
Contact a Virginia Divorce Attorney Today
If you are preparing to initiate divorce proceedings, you must secure experienced legal representation before you begin this process. Divorce proceedings can be emotional and contentious. You need an advocate who will look out for your interests, protect your parenting and property rights, provide you with legal advice, and help you resolve any disputes that arise between both parties.
The Northern Virginia DC divorce attorneys at Roop Xanttopoulos Babounakis PLLC have the knowledge and skills to help you navigate through the divorce process. We will work tirelessly to expedite the process and help you move on with your life as quickly as possible.
Contact us today for a consultation to discuss your situation.
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