Military Divorce in Virginia—How To Make the Separation As Quick As Possible
Divorcing a spouse you spent many happy moments with is never easy. If one or both of you are in the military and are residents of Virginia, the divorce process becomes even more demanding and can last longer. In case you decide to get a military divorce in Virginia, find everything you need to know about it in our comprehensive guide.
Before we get into the specifics, note that there is a time- and cost-efficient way to get a crucial divorce document. Subscribe to DoNotPay to draft a settlement agreement, avoid high expenses, and settle without going to court.
To qualify for a military divorce in Virginia, the spouse serving in the armed forces must be stationed in the state for at least six months. Note that the divorced service member doesn’t have to stay in the state after the dissolution of marriage. If the military spouse serves in the navy, their ship’s homeport has to be in Virginia.
According to the Virginia divorce law, you can qualify for a fault-based or no-fault divorce, both of which could be:
File for fault-based divorce if your spouse committed one of the following acts listed in the Code of Virginia:
Before filing for divorce based on cruelty or abandonment, you have to be separated for:
- Six months if you don’t have children
- A year if you have children
If the cause of marriage dissolution is adultery or felony, you may ask for an immediate divorce.
To file for no-fault divorce, you must spend six to twelve months apart, depending on whether you have children. During this time, you can determine the details of the post-divorce arrangements, such as custody and property division.
An uncontested divorce is a marriage dissolution in which:
- Both parties agree on the conditions of the separation
- Neither has committed a marital transgression
If former partners can’t agree on the elements of their divorce—such as child support, custody, or splitting assets—then the divorce becomes contested. To bypass the issues and avoid hiring a lawyer, you can try mediation because it’s still a more affordable option.
If the spouse on active duty is not filing for divorce, they must receive divorce papers and respond to them. Because of the delivery issues, Virginia law protects the person in question from the default divorce judgment. The court may judge a stay of proceedings if the service member hasn’t received the notice or is absent because of the military deployment.
In such cases, the following happens:
|Step 1||The judge may order a stay of proceedings if the served spouse hasn’t received the notice or is unable to appear in court|
|Step 2||The stay can’t be shorter than 90 days and can be extended if necessary|
|Step 3||When notified, the served party must show good faith and ask for a leave to report to the court|
If duties prevent you from responding to the request for an extensive period, learn whether you can get a divorce without going to court.
Has the court issued the default divorce while you were away and didn’t have divorce papers served to you? Request reopening of the default judgment when you return to the U.S. because the 3931 Code allows you to do so.
After filing for divorce, both parties should agree on the following points:
- Child custody
- Military benefits
- Property division
If the couple cannot find a middle ground, the court gets to decide on the crucial matters for them.
Alimony is a major concern if one of the parties has a lower or no income. A parent staying home has to take care of the kids alone, which usually involves higher costs, so the compensation must be appropriate.
The court usually awards custody to a non-military parent, but spouses serving in the forces can demand that their parents or siblings take the children.
The court will decide in the children’s best interest.
The Virginia law obliges ex-partners to share their assets equitably. When one of them is in military service, it isn’t that simple.
Military pension, for example, is beneficial to both parties and is often the most significant asset in a military marriage. Non-military spouses may qualify for their partner’s Survivor Benefit Plan and medical benefits, too.
To decide on whether a non-military spouse gets a portion of the pension or partakes in other benefits, the court usually considers:
- The duration of the marriage
- How long has a service member been on active duty
According to these factors, the court may order splitting the benefits between spouses.
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