How long will it take to get a Divorce in Virginia?
Sheera R. Herrell, Attorney
How long your divorce will take really depends on the kind of divorce you’re trying to get. A contested case almost always takes considerably longer than an uncontested case. What’s the difference? Well, in an uncontested case, you and your husband have already reached an agreement on how the assets, liabilities, and responsibilities in your marriage will be divided. In most cases, that means that you have entered into a written and signed property settlement agreement.
A contested case, on the other hand, is one where you and your husband have not been able to reach an agreement about how the assets, liabilities, and responsibilities in your marriage will be divided. In many cases, the couple is able to agree about some things, but there are a few sticking points that keep them from falling into the uncontested category. A disagreement on just one issue will keep your divorce in the contested category!
In most cases, a normal contested case takes somewhere between 18 and 24 months to complete. This timeline is affected both by the parties (the more difficult they are, the longer the divorce takes) and also the court’s schedule. Just because you want to get a divorce doesn’t mean you can get a trial scheduled next week. There are certain procedures you have to follow, which can include things like your pendente lite (temporary support) hearing and a judicial settlement conference. In many courts, like Virginia Beach, the docket is so backed up that it can take several months to get a trial date!
It also depends on how quickly you file for divorce after you and your husband separate. If you file for divorce immediately after leaving and you’re facing a contested case, you’ll have to wait the full year before you can file, so it takes longer. If, on the other hand, you file for divorce after you’ve already been separated for a year, your case could probably be completed in about 6 to 8 months.
Uncontested cases, on the other hand, are much quicker. Generally, once the one year or six month separation period is up, the parties can expect to get divorced in roughly six to eight weeks.
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