How To File For Divorce in Virginia


We’ve been getting a lot of questions about how you can file for divorce and how you can start a divorce, and one thing that you really need to know and remember is that there’s a condition precedent before you can file for divorce that needs to be [inaudible 00:00:17]. One of you, meaning one spouse, needs to have the intent to permanently separate for the purpose of getting a divorce. This can be done by somebody moving out, or one of you just making the decision that you no longer want to be married, you’ve made your opinion known, and you’ve decided that you are going to separate and leave the marriage for the purpose of getting a divorce.

Once that has happened, a time clock starts. The time clock can either be six months or a year, or the time clock can be waived if there are fault grounds. For example, if there are fault grounds for divorce, you can file for divorce right away. If there are not fault grounds for divorce and you do not have children and you have entered into a property settlement agreement with your spouse, you can file for divorce within six months of somebody having the intent to separate for the purpose of getting a divorce. If you have children, you have to wait one year from the date that you separated for divorce, assuming that there are no fault grounds, in order to file for divorce with the court.

There are two ways that you can file for divorce. You either hire an attorney to file for divorce for you, which is the recommended way and the easiest way, but there’s also a cost involved. Or you can file for divorce yourself as a pro se litigant. In order to help people who are pro se, many of the local courts have developed divorce manuals that they put online. If you choose to go forward pro se, I strongly suggest that you look at your local court’s resources.