Steps to Filing a Divorce in Hampton Roads, Virginia
How a divorce lawyer in Virginia Beach can help
Most divorces follow substantially the same steps. The complexity of these steps, however, can vary greatly, depending on the dispositions of the parties involved. Uncontested divorces between amicable parties are usually simpler and require less court intervention. Conversely, divorces that are more contentious may require a greater degree of court supervision, and may consequently take longer to complete.
In either case, a party seeking a divorce or one who has received divorce papers should consult a Virginia Beach divorce attorney. The divorce lawyer at Joseph W. Hood, Jr. & Associates (retired)/Messman Law, PLC represents clients in both contested and uncontested divorces. Your Virginia Beach divorce lawyer works to resolve your divorce as painlessly as possible.
Negotiation and mediation are important tools that divorce attorneys in Virginia Beach use to simplify the divorce process. By settling issues such as property distribution, custody and visitation, and support among themselves, parties to a divorce can remove the need for court supervision. These negotiations can take place before or after the parties file a divorce petition. The court may incorporate any such agreement into the divorce decree, making it enforceable by the court.
A divorce formally begins when the party seeking divorce files a complaint with the appropriate Virginia Circuit Court. This is usually a simple document stating the identity of the parties, when the marriage began, the identities of minor children, and alleges the facts necessary for establishing grounds for a divorce. In most uncontested divorces, the parties must allege that they have lived separate and apart for at least six months (one year if there are minor children).
Submission of evidence of the grounds for divorce
Even in uncontested divorces, Virginia law requires that more than the testimony of the parties involved substantiate the grounds for a divorce. This usually requires a divorce attorney to obtain testimony by deposition or affidavit from someone outside the marriage substantiating the allegations of the divorce complaint. In more contentious divorces in which the parties dispute the grounds, live testimony at trial may become necessary.
Settling property, support, and custody issues
If the parties have previously reached an agreement on property distribution, support, and custody, the court will review that agreement for fairness and then incorporate it into the final divorce decree. Otherwise, the parties must provide additional evidence on issues such as their relative financial positions and the best interests of any minor children. The court then reviews this evidence and attempts to construct a resolution that is equitable to both parties.
Final divorce decree
Once the parties establish the grounds for divorce and settle all other related issues, the court issues a divorce decree that legally divorces the parties. This decree may also contain provisions regarding property distribution, support, and child custody.
Consult an experienced divorce attorney today
The law firm of Joseph W. Hood, Jr. & Associates (retired)/Messman Law, PLC has provided legal counsel in family law matters–including divorce, annulment, support, and custody matters–for clients throughout the Norfolk and Chesapeake areas. I also provide services in estate planning, business formation and real estate transactions . Call the offices at 757-918-7807or contact me online to schedule a consultation with the experienced divorce lawyer in Virginia Beach.
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