Changes to Virginia Divorce Law in 2021

Changes to Virginia Divorce Law in 2021

The Virginia General Assembly usually passes new legislation concerning family law issues on July 1st of each year. Some new laws are only clarifications of existing laws, while others bring about major changes.

In 2021, the Virginia General Assembly made substantial changes to Virginia Code § 20-106, which governs the standards for a divorce based on no-fault grounds.

Corroborating Witness Requirement in Virginia Repealed

An affidavit of a corroborating witness is one of the prerequisites for obtaining a final decree of divorce under the existing legislation. This third-party witness is required to attest to specific facts about the parties and their marriage. The witness is usually a family member or a friend who is familiar with the Plaintiff, Defendant, and the circumstances behind the separation.

The corroborating witness is seldom called to testify in court, but they must sign a witness affidavit in front of a notary. The affidavit will subsequently be filed as part of the parties’ divorce documents with the circuit court clerk.

As of July 1, 2021, individuals seeking a no-fault divorce in Virginia are no longer subject to the outdated corroborating witness requirement. Virginia residents have benefited from this reform since it has made divorce more accessible and less costly.

Witness verification of divorce grounds is not required in the great majority of states. For many divorce petitioners, this condition was obsolete and burdensome. Often, a petitioner simply did not have someone who qualified as a witness, especially if the divorce or separation was kept a secret. For both the petitioner and the witness, such a requirement was often extremely intrusive and frequently burdensome.

Uniform Collaborative Law Act (UCLA) Enacted

The Uniform Collaborative Law Act (UCLA) was adopted in Virginia by House Bill 1852. Collaborative divorce, a relatively new type of divorce procedure, is increasingly gaining great approval. It is entered into willingly by divorcing couples for the express aim of achieving a settlement in a family or domestic relations issue, including:

  • Marriage, divorce, and property division
  • Parenting time, child custody, and visitation
  • Payments made to a spouse, including alimony and child support
  • Premarital, marital, and post-separation agreements

Individuals frequently prefer collaborative divorce over the traditional divorce process because:

  • It allows spouses to resolve their legal conflicts without the intervention of judges or courts.
  • It makes use of the essential knowledge of mental health doctors and child development specialists.
  • It provides a secure and entirely confidential atmosphere to lessen conflict and its impact on spouses and their families.

Contact a Virginia Divorce Attorney Today

If you need more information regarding fault or no-fault divorce in Virginia, be sure to consult with an expert legal counsel who can assist you through this complex legal procedure.

Contact Holcomb Law, P.C. today at (757) 656-1000 to schedule a consultation or fill out our contact form.