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What is an "uncontested" divorce?

An uncontested divorce is essentially one in which both of the parties to the marriage agree that ending the marriage is acceptable. In an uncontested divorce, the parties do not have any grounds on which to challenge the legal proceedings and both parties want to bring their marriage to its end. Virginia residents may pursue uncontested divorces if certain conditions are met.

Uncontested divorces must meet the general divorce requirements established by the Commonwealth, which include a residency condition. Uncontested divorces are oftentimes based on the Commonwealth's no-fault option for divorce, which alleges that the parties have lived apart for at least one full year.

If marital partners are able to create a settlement agreement regarding their property and other assets, and they do not share any children who have not reached adulthood, then the partners may seek an uncontested divorce based on six months of separation rather than the full year required in other circumstances. This option can be advantageous for older couples who have seen their kids grow up, leave the house and now want to start their own lives over.

As readers of previous posts here know, divorces can be based on grounds of fault as well. Adultery, cruelty, incarceration and desertion are just some of the fault grounds that Virginia courts recognize as means of ending marriages. There are advantages and disadvantages to alleging fault in a divorce, and for this reason it is important that individuals discuss their divorce plans with their family law attorneys before initiating the proceedings. Divorce lawyers can help their clients protect their rights and options when ending their marriages and can advise them on whether uncontested divorce may serve their needs.

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