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What Is A Contested Divorce?

A contested divorce action is one in which the parties have been unable to resolve the issues arising out of their marriage through an agreement and as such, the court must become involved.

What Is An Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce action is one in which the parties are in agreement as to the terms and typically proceed with a no-fault divorce based on their separation.

Fault Vs. No-Fault Grounds

In Virginia, a spouse may obtain a divorce on fault grounds or no-fault grounds. Fault grounds in Virginia include adultery, cruelty, and desertion. A no-fault divorce is one that is granted based on the parties’ separation. Please see our FAQs for more information on the grounds for divorce.

Unless a fault ground for divorce exists, a spouse typically cannot file for divorce unless the spouses have been separated for 12 consecutive months. In situations where there are no minor children and the spouses enter into a separation or property settlement agreement, they may file for divorce after only 6 months of separation.

To obtain a divorce in Virginia, one of the two spouses must have been both a bona fide resident of and been domiciled in Virginia for six months before filing suit. In other words, Virginia laws discourage “forum shopping” where individuals attempt to use Virginia’s divorce laws to their advantage.

Jurisdictional Matters

In family law matters, disputes often arise about where a divorce or child custody case should be heard. Laws governing divorce and child custody vary in different states and different countries, and these differences can have dramatic effects on the outcome of certain cases.

Lawyers have many terms they use when dealing with jurisdictional matters. It is typical to make arguments about a “home state,” a “significant connection,” a “temporary emergency,” a “habitual residence” and a “more appropriate forum” when multiple states or foreign nations are involved.

Frequently, parents live in separate states when attempting to arrange for child custody and visitation. There are several laws, including the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA) and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), that prevent people from engaging in child custody proceedings in two different states.

Contact Us To Help With Your Divorce

To schedule a consultation, please call our Falls Church/Fairfax County office at 703-883-8035 or send us an email.