Virginia legal forms petition for modification of final divorce decree

Because you will have many questions along the way, you should also seek answers through other sources such as a family law attorney, your county courthouse, friends and relatives who have gone through a divorce, and online resources to help you deal with a variety of financial, social and emotional challenges.

Types of Divorce in Virginia

Spouses can end their marriages through divorce or annulment in Virginia. In some states, couples may also change their marital relationship through legal separation, but in Virginia legal separation is technically not allowed. Legal Separation. In states that allow it, legal separation is a means to live independently from each other, dividing assets, and settling issues such as child custody, alimony, support and other related issues.

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It is similar to a divorce, but there is no actual divorce. Virginia does not allow legal separation as an option, but if spouses are living separately and one spouse wants support or other relief, they can file for separate maintenance.

Keep in mind that one of the requirements for getting a divorce in Virginia is that you have to live separately for a year to qualify. This period can be reduced to six months if you have not children and you have executed a separation agreement. Annulments are allowed in Virginia as long as a there is a legal ground for the action, but they are granted far less frequently than divorces.

An annulment ends an invalid marriage vs. To seek an annulment, you must file a Complaint for Annulment in the county where you or your spouse lives.

Virginia Law on Modification of Final Divorce Decrees

A hearing will be scheduled at which time you will need to prove the legal grounds for your annulment. In Virginia, a divorce is a permanent and legal end to a marriage. All ties are severed, assets are divided, custody and alimony issues are resolved, and each spouse goes their separate way after a final decree is issued by the court. To move forward with a no-fault divorce, a couple only needs to prove that they lived apart for a continuous period of at least one year. The amount of time may be reduced to six months if a couple has prepared a separation agreement and there are no minor children from the marriage.

A fault-based divorce is generally more contentious and requires proving one of the allowable reasons based on marital misconduct. It is also an option for couples who want to move forward with a divorce but who have not met the separation requirement under a no-fault situation.


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It is in your best interests to fully understand all of your options when you are thinking about getting a divorce. The path that you ultimately take will be determined by the relationship you have with your spouse. Deciding whether to pursue an uncontested divorce in Virginia or attempting to negotiate a settlement through a cooperative effort of some sort could save you a lot time and money, making it easier for you to transition to life as a single person.

This will help you to reach a decision about how to move forward on all the other parts of your case. You can go through a divorce or separation process in many ways in Virginia, but the basic elements are pretty much the same no matter process you choose. Gather important information. To give yourself the best chance at achieving the best possible outcome, you need to be organized and proactive when it comes to pulling together the information you will need. By doing so, you can ensure your rights are protected while also saving time, money and anxiety for the next steps in your divorce.

Complete the initial paperwork. To start a divorce in Virginia, you or your spouse must fill out and file a Bill of Complaint for Divorce in a county circuit court.


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  • You must make at least two copies of the complaint and submit them to the county circuit court where you or your spouse lives. File your forms. The clerk of the circuit court will review the filing and let you know if anything is missing. If approved, you will receive a civil number that will designate your case. If you are seeking a waiver of the filing and services fees due to an inability to pay, then you will also need to complete a Petition for Proceeding in Civil Case without payment of Fees or Costs Form CC After you have filed your forms with the court, you must legally notify your spouse of your intent to divorce them.

    To do so, you must follow strict legal procedures by making sure they receive a copy of the complaint, an official court summons and any other documents that are relevant to your divorce. You cannot do this yourself. Expect to pay a fee for the service. In certain cases, you can have service completed by certified mail, publication or posting as well. If papers were delivered by certified mail, a return receipt must be requested. It will need to be returned to the court as part of the proof of service. If you are having trouble locating a spouse, it may be possible to publish a legal notice in a local newspaper.

    You will need to check with local newspapers to see what procedures they follow. When complete, they will send an affidavit either to you or directly to the courthouse. After receiving the documents or once proof of service has been completed, a spouse has 21 days to file an answer with the court. If they fail to do so, they waive their service of process and automatically consent to the divorce.

    When this happens, the court will grant the divorce by default in most cases. You can complete some of the process associated with filing a divorce in Virginia online. There are several firms and private attorneys who will be able to assist you by hiring them through their website and exchanging emails to complete required forms. This can save time and money, especially in an uncontested divorce. However, ultimately you or your attorney will need to file the appropriate documents at the court in the county where you or your spouse live. Some forms may also need to be notarized but in many cases the court has a public notary that you can use.

    You can file for divorce in Virginia without using a lawyer as long as you meet all the pertinent requirements. Not using an attorney works best for no-fault divorces which are must less complicated than fault-based divorces. To access the packet, go here. Another way to avoid using a lawyer is to agree to use the services of a mediator instead. Both spouses must agree to this option. A mediator will review financial documents, forms and worksheets as part of a discovery process and then guide you and your spouse through a series of discussions about the outstanding issues, attempting to peacefully resolve things such as child support and custody, alimony and a division of assets.

    Once these issues are resolved, a mediator will draft a Memorandum of Understanding and you will file this document with the court as part of your divorce process. In addition, you will also have to pay a fee to have your spouse served by one of several methods.

    Virginia No-Fault Divorce (No Children) Uncontested Divorce

    Most of the time, having a county sheriff complete service is the most inexpensive way to go. If you are not able to afford the filing fees and associated costs, it is possible to petition for a waiver of fees by also filing a Petition for Proceeding in Civil Case without payment of Fees or Costs.

    Any other costs should be minimal in an uncontested divorce. Expect to also have to pay some sort of retainer up front as well. In some cases, a judge may require a couple to go through mediation as part of the divorce process.

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    Fully contested divorces can run into the tens of thousands of dollars depending on how contentious the divorce is, what kind of assets are involved, and how much disagreement there is with child custody and support issues. The judge signed an order garnishing his wages for it.


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    • It doesn't matter what one party in the divorce believes to be fair or unfair. What matters is how the laws in the state compel them to adhere to the divorce decree, and by extension child support payments. In this example, Joe not only was forced to make the payments, he also suffered the humiliation of having the court contact his employer about his wages. Jane's divorce decree allowed her ex-husband to see his children one night a week for dinner and every other weekend for regular visitation. The decree also stated that Jane was to share educational records and information with her ex and keep him updated with any medical issues.

      Jane regularly withheld information from her spouse and refused to honor the stipulations of visitation. This includes a lack of communication about the visits. Her ex filed a motion for contempt of court based on parental interference.

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      In extreme cases, a judge may remove custody from one parent altogether. Some people will say that a divorce court order is nothing but a "piece of paper. If you feel that you cannot uphold it, bring this up in court or speak with your attorney about doing so. MyDomaine uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By using MyDomaine, you accept our. Here are two examples that may be helpful to understanding contempt of court in your situation.

      Joe's violation of child support. Jane's violation of visitation.