How do I start the process?
A: First you and I will have a conversation either over the telephone or in person in my office. Then you will sign a fee agreement which details what you are hiring me to do and for what cost. Once I receive the signed fee agreement along with the fee I am then ready to get to work drafting all the necessary documents.
Do I have to go to court?
A: If you do not wish to make a court appearance we can simply conduct a deposition in my office with a court reporter. The court reporter will make a transcript of the testimony of you and your witness’ testimony which I will then file with the court along with your final decree of divorce. A few days later we should receive your final decree, signed by a judge.
In some cases we can do a deposition over the telephone rather than in my office.
What happens to the property we acquired during the marriage and how do we work out the custody and visitation of the children?
A: In most cases you will need to enter into a legally binding contract known as a marital separation agreement. This agreement will divide the assets and will finally resolve all your property and support rights between the two of you.
The agreement will also detail all issues related to the children, including but not limited to:
- Legal and physical custody
- Visitation schedule
- Holiday schedule
- Child support
- Tax deduction for the children
- College education – if this is desired
- Unreimbursed/uninsured medical costs
- Expenses of Extra-curricular activities of the children
Do I need a witness to get divorced?
A: Yes. Virginia law requires that a friend or relative testify on your behalf to ensure that, among other things, you and your spouse have been separated for the requisite period of time and have lived in state for the correct length of time before filing.
Do I need my spouse’s consent to obtain an uncontested divorce?
A: No. If your spouse refuses to enter into a marital separation agreement you may still file for a divorce after you’ve been separated for at least one year.
Even if you do not know where your spouse currently resides and have no way of getting in touch with him or her, you can still get a divorce. We will have to post a legal notice in the Washington Times to notify your spouse that a bill of complaint for divorce has been filed. After the advertisement runs 4 times we can submit a final decree of divorce to the court for a Judge’s signature.
How long will my divorce take to complete?
My work will be done very quickly and filed with the court. The quickest divorces can take approximately 10 days if your spouse is cooperative and signs a waiver of service. If you must publish the notice in the paper because you do not know the location of your spouse then it could take up to 6 weeks. Each case is different and the length of time really depends on the cooperation of your spouse and the court system.
What if I am deployed or my spouse is deployed in the United States Military?
A: If you are stationed in Virginia for at least 6 months immediately prior to your deployment, or if your ship’s home port is in Virginia you may file for divorce in Virginia. You do not need to be present in Virginia for your final divorce testimony so if you are deployed we can conduct a deposition via telephone.
If your spouse is in the military then there are special rules we will have to follow in order to comply with the Servicemembers Relief Act but you can still easily obtain a divorce. It is important that your attorney follows the intricate details of Servicemembers Relief Act otherwise your divorce can be invalid. I have conducted many seminars and trainings to attorneys, judges, military personnel and law enforcement regarding the special steps required to comply with this Act.