Where do I file for divorce in Virginia?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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In the state of Virginia, there are procedures that must be followed in order for a divorce to take place, and since the termination of a marriage is a legal proceeding, the entire divorce process is covered and handled through the court system. This means you must file for divorce within the appropriate Virginia court. 

Where to File for Divorce in Virginia

In the state of Virginia, all divorce cases are heard and handled by the Circuit Court System, Civil Intake Division, of the Virginia State Circuit Courts. This means, if you decide to file for a divorce in Virginia, you will need to acquire the proper paperwork and forms in order to file your case in the civil side of the Virginia circuit courts. If you have a divorce case already started, you can continue the process or check for updates on your case by visiting or contacting the Circuit Courts of the State of Virginia for your specific county or city within the state.

In order to file for a divorce in Virginia, you must have been a resident of the state of Virginia for six months before filing. You also must have either lived apart from your spouse for six months, if there are no children, or for a year if there are children. Assuming these requirements are met, you may file the proper divorce papers with the Circuit Court. The other spouse must be notified and served with the divorce papers in order for the divorce to proceed. At that point, you may either create an out of court settlement agreement and custody plan for the court to approve, which is often cheaper and simpler, or you may litigate the issues necessary to end your marriage in the Virginia court system. 

Getting Help

When you file for divorce, you should always have a lawyer on your side protecting your rights. Your attorney can also take care of the logistics of actually filing for the divorce for you.  

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