While divorce is always emotionally draining for the parties involved, the legal complexity of divorce varies greatly. In situations where the parties are still amicable, divorce can be quite simple. The parties can negotiate custody and property division outside of court and complete the divorce simply by living apart for the requisite amount of time and filing an uncontested petition in the appropriate Virginia Circuit Court.

What constitutes a contested divorce?

A contested divorce, whether in Chesapeake, Norfolk or elsewhere in Virginia, can be much more complicated. In such cases, the court must usually determine whether there are grounds for divorce. The party seeking the divorce must prove by a preponderance of evidence that at least one of several statutory conditions exist:

  • Adultery
  • A felony conviction and prison sentence of one year or more
  • Cruelty or reasonable apprehension of bodily harm
  • Willful abandonment for a period of one year or more
  • Continuous separation for one year or more (six months if no minor children)

In an uncontested divorce, the parties can establish the grounds easily through affidavits or depositions. In a contested divorce, however, the other party may dispute those grounds, making a trial necessary. When a divorce turns contentious, a seasoned Chesapeake divorce lawyer from Hood Law can be a valuable ally. Our attorneys have the litigation, negotiation and mediation experience to provide comprehensive representation during both contentious and amicable divorce proceedings.

Even in cases where both parties want to divorce and do not dispute the grounds, a contested divorce can still occur. If the parties cannot settle issues of property division and child custody prior to filing their divorce petition, the court must decide these issues. This usually involves both sides providing evidence to show why each is entitled to a favorable decision. If relevant facts are in dispute, a trial may become necessary to settle these discrepancies.

Consult an experienced divorce attorney today

Hood Law has provided legal counsel in family law matters--including divorce, annulment, support, and custody matters--to clients throughout the Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Virginia Beach areas for several years. Ms. Messman also provides services in estate planning, business formation and real estate transactions. Call our offices at or contact me online to schedule a consultation with an experienced divorce lawyers.