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Virginia Beach Attorneys for Contested and Uncontested Divorce

There are two types of divorce in Virginia: contested and uncontested. In an uncontested divorce, the separation is mutually agreed upon, as are all the major points of the separation agreement, including child support, child custody, alimony (spousal support), and property division. In a contested divorce, there is usually a major dispute or fierce contention between the two spouses, and a court may need to intervene and decide the terms of the separation for the couple. A divorce can also be contested if one spouse has grounds for a fault-based divorce.

If you are seeking a divorce, the Virginia Beach divorce attorneys of Pincus Goodman, P.C., can protect your rights, provide legal support, and help you navigate the legal system. Whether you are hoping for a quick, no-fault divorce or need help resolving significant disputes as part of a contested divorce, we have the resources to help you seek a favorable outcome. Contact us at (757) 301-9634 for a consultation to discuss your situation and goals.

Contested Divorce in Virginia Beach

If you and your spouse cannot agree on the terms of your divorce, the divorce is considered to be a “contested” one. For instance, if you cannot reach a compromise regarding property division, or if one of the parties feels that the suggested monthly support amount is unfair, these disagreements may have to be resolved by a court.

Because it can take time to resolve major disputes, contested divorces tend to go on for a longer period of time than uncontested divorces, where all the major issues are already agreed upon. If there are disputes between you and your spouse over the terms of your separation, you will need an experienced attorney to help you negotiate solutions and fight for your parenting and property rights.

If a divorce is fault-based, it is considered to be a contested divorce. To pursue a fault-based divorce, one of the two spouses must be able to demonstrate one of the four legal grounds for divorce in Virginia:

  • Adultery – If your spouse has “cheated” (specifically, had consensual sex with someone outside of your marriage), you can use adultery as grounds for divorce. However, if the act of adultery occurred more than five years before you file for divorce, you won’t be able to cite adultery as a valid justification for divorce. You also won’t be able to divorce on the basis of adultery if you continue to have sexual contact with your spouse after the adultery occurred.
  • Cruelty – If your spouse was violent toward you or threatened you with violence (and you reasonably feared that you could be physically or mentally harmed as a result), you can cite cruelty as grounds for divorce. Mental torment, humiliation, and neglect could also be considered cruelty, but they must be so egregious as to make the marriage unbearable.
  • Abandonment or willful desertion – If your spouse permanently left the marriage against your will, you could file for divorce on the grounds of abandonment or willful desertion (which are often used interchangeably). However, your spouse must have been gone for at least one year for this to be valid grounds for divorce. You will need an attorney’s help to prove that your spouse planned to leave the marriage for good and that their departure was against your wishes.
  • Felony criminal conviction with a prison sentence that is greater than one year – If, after entering the marriage, your spouse is convicted of a felony offense and sentenced to at least one year in jail, you can use the felony conviction as grounds for divorce. However, if your spouse resumes living with you after serving out their sentence, you will not be able to get a divorce based on a criminal conviction.

To successfully obtain a divorce based on fault, you’ll need to be able to prove one of these four grounds before a judge. The Virginia Beach attorneys of Pincus Goodman, P.C., can help you gather evidence to support your case and present an effective argument on your behalf in court.

Uncontested Divorce

If you and your spouse can agree on all the main points of a separation agreement, then you could file for an uncontested, no-fault divorce. Not only are no-fault divorces typically faster, not to mention significantly less stressful, but you can actually save yourself a lot of money in the long run. If you want to avoid a lengthy, time-consuming court challenge, then you and your spouse should consider a no-fault divorce.

There are three primary requirements to get a no-fault divorce in Virginia: 

  • Virginia residency – Before initiating the divorce, one of the two spouses in the marriage must have permanently resided in the Commonwealth of Virginia for at least six months.
  • Separation – To get a no-fault divorce, you and your spouse must have lived separately for a specified period of time before you file for divorce. During that time, you and your spouse must also refrain from sexual relations. In Virginia, you and your spouse must live separate and apart for at least one year before the divorce. However, the required separation period can be shortened to six months if the divorce is not contested, you’ve prepared a separation agreement, and you don’t share any minor children with your spouse.
  • Separation agreement – Lastly, you and your spouse must reach an agreement on issues including child support, child custody, spousal support, property and debt division, and other issues. The final separation agreement will be a legally enforceable agreement between you and your ex after the divorce.

Even in a no-fault divorce, small disputes can arise between the two parties, and it’s always a good idea to consult with an attorney before you agree to sign a separation agreement. The Virginia Beach attorneys of Pincus Goodman, P.C., can offer you legal advice and ensure that the terms of your separation are fair and equitable to you.

Contact a Virginia Beach Divorce Lawyer Today

Are you considering getting divorced in Virginia Beach? If so, contact Pincus Goodman, P.C., today for a consultation. Our compassionate divorce attorneys have the experience and skills to help you start your new life on firm ground. Call us today at (757) 301-9634.

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