For many people, going through a divorce is an extremely frightening and stressful time in their lives, and if you are currently worried about an impending divorce, the time to speak with an experienced Chesapeake divorce lawyer is now. Our legal team is dedicated to tirelessly fighting on behalf of our clients, and we are prepared to put our knowledge, experience, and diligence to work for you. Our firm serves clients throughout the state of Virginia, including in Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Portsmouth. Contact Patzig Law today to learn more about how we can guide you through every step of the divorce process ahead.
Chesapeake Divorce Lawyer | Here to Help You Through the Process
The outcome of your divorce will most likely affect the lives of you, your child, and your former spouse for years to come, which is why it is so important that you retain the services of a knowledgeable Chesapeake family law attorney who will fight for the best possible outcome on your behalf.
Fulfilling the Residency Requirement in Virginia
The first step of any divorce is satisfying the residency requirement. Essentially, to file for divorce in the Commonwealth of Virginia, you must prove that you’ve lived in Virginia for six months. You must also cite the grounds of your divorce at this time.
No-Fault Divorce in Virginia
Virginia is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce, meaning that though you are required to cite the grounds of your divorce, you do not have to cite fault grounds, which are specific reasons as to why you wish to get divorced. Some examples of citable fault grounds in Virginia are as follows:
- Incarceration for a felony conviction
That being said, while you can cite one of the aforementioned fault grounds as the reason for your divorce, you should understand in most cases (with the exception of adultery) citing fault grounds rarely influences the outcome of your divorce. Further, citing fault grounds gives your spouse a chance to respond to those grounds and deny your accusation, often prolonging the divorce process. That is why in most cases, it is best to simply cite separation of at least 12 months prior to the divorce. If you don’t have minor children together, you may cite a separation of six months. Doing so would be considered a “no-fault” divorce.
Filing a Complaint for Divorce
Once you’ve fulfilled the residency requirement, you will file a complaint for divorce and serve it to your spouse. Your complaint will contain the grounds for divorce, among other things. Your spouse will then file an answer to your complaint within 21 days. If you cite fault grounds, at this point, your spouse can deny the allegations, or even file a counterclaim against you.
Pretrial Motions and Conference
Once the complaint for divorce is answered, pretrial motions will take place, wherein both spouses will have the opportunity to file motions making certain requests, such as pendente lite relief. You and your spouse will then most likely have to attend a pretrial conference, wherein you will each state your wishes for the divorce, as well as any contested issues.
Some of the most important divorce-related issues are child custody, child support, alimony, and property distribution, and in many cases, couples find it impossible to agree on all four. That being said, if you can resolve any disagreements you may have at this point, you may be able to settle your divorce without having to go to trial. If not, the litigation schedule will be set.
This will then initiate the discovery process. During discovery, all involved parties will attempt to gather the information they need to move forward with the process. For example, financial statements must be gathered, assets must be valued, and other documents must be produced.
Depending on your situation, there is a very wide range of documents that may be involved in your divorce. For example, when one spouse accuses the other of adultery, he or she may use text messages, emails, or another document/type of evidence to prove their claim. Discovery is essentially the data-gathering and case-building part of the divorce process.
It is critical that you have a knowledgeable Chesapeake divorce lawyer on your side at this time, as you must ensure you include full disclosure of your assets. If it is determined that you reported an incorrect value of your assets, regardless of whether you did so intentionally or not, the court may have to report the discrepancy to the IRS, thereby complicating your divorce even further.
After discovery, we will request a trial date, which is typically granted no more than eight months after you submitted your request. Both parties will present evidence and witnesses at the trial and give opening and closing statements. Once the trial has come to a close, a judge will review all presented evidence and issue your final divorce order. This order will contain the terms of your divorce, and it is a final ruling.
Contact a Chesapeake County Divorce Lawyer
We understand how stressful the divorce process can be, which is why our compassionate team of attorneys is ready to help you in any way we can. We understand the significant implications that a divorce can have, and we will do everything in our power to attain a positive outcome on your behalf. Contact Patzig Law today to schedule your initial consultation with our firm.