To obtain a divorce in Virginia, either you or your spouse must be a resident of Virginia for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. If there are no children from the marriage, you must be separated for a minimum of six months and have a written property settlement agreement before you may file for divorce. If there are children from the marriage, you must be separated a minimum of one year before you may file for divorce.
If you choose to represent yourself, you will be expected to follow the same procedures as an attorney. Please do not ask court personnel for legal advice or assistance. Court personnel are prohibited by state law from giving you legal advice or assistance. You are strongly encouraged to hire an attorney.
There are several different steps in filing for divorce. We have worked with the Fairfax Bar Association to develop a package to help you understand the legal procedures required to obtain a divorce.
The Divorce Complaint is filed in the Circuit Court, Civil Intake Division, along with the following:
- VS-4 State Statistical Form (available from the Civil Intake Division)
- Domestic Case Coversheet (available from the Civil Intake Division and below)
- Civil Fees (see Civil Fee Schedule) - All fees are payable to the Clerk of the Circuit Court by cash, cashier's check or money order. Personal checks are not accepted.
- Filing Fee - fee required to file a Divorce Complaint
- Service Fee
- If the Defendant resides in Virginia, you may serve her/him through the Office of the Sheriff (see Civil Fee Schedule for Sheriff Service Fee).
- If the Defendant does not reside in Virginia, you must make arrangements to have the documents served.
- If the Defendant is willing to accept service of the documents, you may have the documents mailed to you; or the Defendant may come to the Circuit Court Civil Intake Division to sign the documents and accept service.
- Resume Maiden Name Fee - (See Civil Fee Schedule)
After the divorce is final, see the Civil Records page for information about getting a certified copy of your Final Decree of Divorce in person or through the mail.
All divorce cases will be placed in the case management program for divorce cases (the domestic track). Domestic track information and forms are available.
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