Do It Right the First Time: How to Secure an Uncontested Divorce in Virginia

Don't spin your wheels online--let's do it right the first time, together.

And I wouldn't trust the online form factories or blinking-neon-online-advertising-signs saying "Cheap! Fast!  Hundred Bucks!" 

I'm in court every week, usually twice a week, from Richmond to Williamsburg, Virginia as a family law attorney handling complex divorce, custody and support casesBut sometimes, they're not complex.  Our understanding of the complex cases, enables our firm to achieve the 'quick', 'uncontested' divorces efficiently and done-right-the-first time.

Here's the basic outline for an uncontested divorce in Virginia, in particular from Richmond to Williamsburg, Virginia where my firm, Smith Strong, PLC, practices.

  1. Meet with client to review options, assets, debts, and develop the terms of the Property Settlement Agreement.
  2. Draft the Property Settlement Agreement, review with client, ensuring unique situation is addressed and protections afforded depending on the individual situation of the client, and their needs.
  3. Send the Agreement to client's spouse or their attorney, if represented.
  4. Call spouse or spouse's attorney (if represented) to see if they have any questions, inviting them to meet with us to review and sign the Agreement, or simply mail it back signed.
  5. Negotiate certain finer points, if not yet agreed upon, like what to do with the house, retirement plans, bank accounts, how to transfer title of the cars, visitation plan for the children, child support, etc.
  6. Have the client sign the Agreement after completing Agreement-signing with spouse.
  7. At this meeting, review Packet 1 of 2 with client, including:  cover letter, cover sheet, complaint, plan for service of process, copy of Agreement, secured addendum, Affidavits to Military Service, etc.
  8. File packet 1 of 2 with the Circuit Court of the Client's City or County, including the filing fee, usually in the $86.00 range (as of 2014).
  9. Confirm receipt of packet and processing of packet, fast-tracking its service and processing through court system with clerk of Circuit Court.
  10. Confirm service on spouse or waiver of service (to save money, with appropriate waiver form completed by opposing side).
  11. Prepare and review affidavits with client and their witness, overseeing their endorsement before a notary public.
  12. Review Final Decree, incorporating terms of the Agreement signed earlier, with client.
  13. File Packet 2 of 2 with Circuit Court, including:  Waiver of Service Form, Affidavits of Client + Witness, Final Decree, Secured Addendum, Cover Letter, VS-4, etc.
  14. Confirm receipt of packet 2 of 2 and calling clerk every 2 weeks to ensure secure processing through court system.
  15. Receive Final Decree of Divorce, distribute to parties, returning case file to client.
  16. Optional item:  If the parties are dividing retirement accounts, including pensions, IRAs, 401-Ks, Military or Federal pensions, they will need our firm to draft Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (called something different for Military, State and Federal Pensions) for each account.  Each of these Orders must comply with the unique requirements of that financial institution or governmental agency.  These, too, must be signed by both parties, signed and entered by the Judge overseeing your divorce case, and then entered by the Plan Administrator with a specific cover sheet and addendum for each account.
  17. Optional Item:  If one spouse is keeping the house, we will draw up the deed to transfer the legal ownership of the house from both parties, and to the spouse keeping the house, ensuring it is completed right-the-first-time, signed by both parties, and succesfully entered in the Circuit Court Clerk's office in the County/City where the property is located.
  18. Optional Item:  If your spouse is not living up to their side of the Agreement, for instance not transferring property, or not paying a lump sum, or not signing a legal document needed, etc, we will file a Show Cause action in that same Circuit Court to compel them to do what they agreed to--and they will also be required, if the court agrees, to pay our attorneys' fees for their bad faith action or inaction.
     
H. Van Smith
Trusted Virginia Family Law Attorney Serving Richmond to Williamsburg