A Faster, More Affordable Version Of Divorce
We have all heard horror stories of divorces that last for years and drain the exes of money and strength. This most often happens when the spouses are deeply estranged from each other, and determined to fight tooth and nail over every piece of marital property and custody of the children.
Fortunately, there are quicker and easier alternatives, especially if you and your spouse are willing to work together to avoid a contentious, messy marriage dissolution. From our office in Fairfax, Virginia, the Law Office of Afsana Chowdhury skillfully guides our clients through uncontested divorce. We serve clients throughout Fairfax County and the surrounding regions.
Uncontested Divorce Explained
Unlike traditional divorce, uncontested divorce is not a confrontational proceeding. It is a form of amicable divorce that works best when you and your spouse can agree on basic matters like property division. It is a fast and simple version of divorce that can save you significant time and money, and avoid the bitter feelings often associated with divorce.
Though uncontested divorce is generally much more simple than traditional divorce, there are still steps you must follow. As your attorney, Afsana Chowdhury’s experience with uncontested divorce will make sure that you avoid mistakes that will delay the dissolution of your marriage, cost you your share of the property or both.
How Do I File for an Uncontested Divorce?
You must first meet the requirements of a divorce in Virginia. At a minimum, one of the spouses must have lived in Virginia for at least six months before filing for divorce. You and your spouse must also be separated for six months, or twelve months if there are minor children involved.
The divorce begins with a bill of complaint. The filing spouse is the plaintiff, while the non-filing spouse is the defendant. Each county has unique rules and documents for filing a divorce, so consider working with an experienced Virginia uncontested divorce attorney before attempting to file forms for an uncontested divorce.
The filing spouse must also serve their spouse with the divorce papers, under Virginia Code Section 20-99.2. This can typically be done by hiring a private process server or the sheriff, to serve the papers. Although the spouse against whom the divorce is being filed is entitled to notice, they can waive their right to notice. This can help expedite the divorce process, especially when neither spouse objects to the divorce.
The most burdensome aspect of a divorce is often the property settlement aspect. Both spouses must fully disclose their financial position so the other party is fully aware of how many assets and debts are at issue.
The spouses must agree as to how they want to divide their assets after they complete the divorce. Not only will the agreement cover property, like joint accounts, shared real estate, and any other marital property, but it will also address child custody if you and your spouse have minor children as well as issues of support and maintenance. Even if the divorce is generally uncontested, these negotiations can still be contentious.
Finally, a judge must formally approve the divorce. One of the benefits of an uncontested divorce, rather than a contested divorce, is that the spouses do not need to try their divorce in front of a judge. The plaintiff may request an oral hearing in front of the judge, where they bring the divorce documents and usually at least one witness who can testify as to the dissolution of the marriage. In an uncontested divorce where both parties agree to the divorce agreement, the judge will likely sign the final divorce decree immediately after the hearing. Virginia now allows testimony in uncontested divorces to be given by affidavit, thus enabling parties to avoid having to appear in court altogether.
How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost?
An uncontested divorce is almost always going to be less expensive than a contested divorce because it avoids the cost of a lengthy trial, which is a strong incentive for spouses to come to a quick and efficient agreement. Although they are cheaper, uncontested divorces can still cost substantial amounts of money as there may be numerous issues or significant assets involved. Furthermore, in addition to paying an attorney, even in uncontested divorces couples are required to pay filing fees and other costs to the court.
Divorce attorneys typically charge by the hour for their services. This can be one of the main expenses involved in a divorce. The more the spouses disagree, the more they usually have to pay their lawyers to help them negotiate their property settlement. Although our office does not bill clients by the house, every divorce will have its own unique set of facts and circumstances that determine the actual cost of the legal process for each spouse.
Get Help Deciding If Uncontested Divorce Is For You
Not every divorce can be uncontested, but when possible, an uncontested divorce can save a great deal of time and money. To talk about fast divorce options with a talented uncontested divorce attorney, please call our office at 703-782-4273 or visit our Contact page to email us. We offer an initial phone consultation.