If you are going to start the Brunswick County divorce process, this comprehensive guide will be useful. Following the steps specified below, spouses can end their marriage quicker and more efficiently.
Steps for Filing a Divorce in Brunswick County
1) Make Sure You Meet Residency Requirements
To initiate the divorce process in the county, either spouse must have lived in Virginia for at least 6 months and must currently reside in the state.
2) Decide what Type of Divorce to Start
A divorce may be no-fault or fault-based. No-fault cases are more common and are typically resolved faster, especially if spouses have completed a settlement agreement and have lived apart for half a year or a year if they have minor kids. If adultery, cruelty, felony conviction, or abandonment have occurred in marital life, a petitioner may indicate the partner’s wrongdoing as the ground for a fault-based divorce.
3) Prepare the Necessary Documents
You need to fill out and sign divorce papers. The package includes a Complaint for Divorce that outlines your reasons for seeking marriage termination and other supporting documents, such as a Marital Settlement Agreement, Parenting Plan if you have minor children, etc. You can prepare divorce forms yourself, hire a lawyer, or contact online divorce services and get your case-specific papers within a couple of days.
4) File the Divorce Forms
Go to the court clerk’s office and file your divorce documents. You will have to pay a filing fee, which is usually around $100, though there may be some variations. The clerk will give you copies of your papers and assign a case number.
5) Serve Your Spouse
You must deliver copies of the filed documents to your spouse to notify them that a divorce process has started. You can hire a certified process server or a sheriff to serve the papers. A person delivering the papers has to complete an Affidavit of Service that defines the date, time, and manner in which the documents were served.
6) Wait for the Spouse’s Response
Your spouse has 21 days to respond to the Complaint for Divorce. In the Answer, a respondent should specify if they agree with the divorce terms indicated by a petitioner; otherwise, they may file a counterclaim.
If a spouse fails to answer within a specified period, a petitioner may request a default judgment from the court. In such a case, the decision will be based on conditions specified in the Complaint if the judge finds them fair.
7) Complete the Waiting Period
If spouses have already lived separately for 6 months and have a marital settlement agreement or for 1 year in cases with kids, they don’t have to complete any other waiting period till their divorce can be finalized.
The same rule applies to fault-based cases when one spouse can prove the partner’s misconduct. However, there are specific time requirements as to when these fault reasons can become a legal ground for complete divorce, or divorce “from bond of matrimony.” For instance, if desertion, abandonment, or cruelty took place less than 1 year before a petitioner initiates the divorce process, it is possible that the judge will grant a divorce “from bed and board.”
8) Finalize the Divorce
If required, attend a hearing where a judge will review your case and sign a divorce decree. It is a document that officially terminates the marriage. It outlines the specific terms and conditions agreed upon by spouses or ordered by the court regarding child custody, support, division of assets, and other relevant issues.
Complicated cases usually involve lengthy litigation, while a no-fault uncontested divorce process may be completed without standard in-court hearings.
What Brunswick County Papers Do I Need to File for Divorce
A typical Brunswick County divorce packet includes the following documents:
- Complaint for Divorce that outlines the grounds for marriage termination and is filed to start a divorce process.
- Domestic Case Cover Sheet, which contains the basic case data.
- VS-4 Form with the names, addresses, dates of birth of the spouses, and marriage date.
- Property Settlement Agreement describing the terms of marriage dissolution as previously agreed by spouses.
Please note that the divorce kit should include additional forms if spouses have minor children. They will have to prepare the documents related to child custody, support, visitation, etc. Besides, the court may require a Parenting Education Certificate, which proves that spouses have completed a parenting education course.
Where to File for Divorce in Brunswick County
If you are going to end your marriage officially, you can go to any of the Brunswick County divorce courts listed below:
|7500 Government Center Drive, Suite 105
Brunswick, VA 23821
Brunswick County Divorce Lawyer vs. Online Divorce
Contested cases are rarely resolved without a lawyer’s assistance. Spouses that can’t reach an agreement on divorce-related issues should be ready to pay divorce lawyers’ costs, no matter how high they are.
On the other hand, couples applying for an uncontested no-fault divorce can avoid spending money on pricey legal representation. In fact, if they delegate paperwork to online divorce services, they can reduce all expenses to a court filing fee for divorce and the cost of document preparation. If you like such a money-saving approach and want to speed up the paperwork preparation process, we will be glad to help you.
Paul Bennett is an author and a recurring columnist for a range of legal advisory blogs. Leveraging his past experience as a family law attorney, in his articles, Paul brings a unique understanding of the legal intricacies of divorce. His goal is to help those facing the breakdown of their marriage get through the complexities of ending it with a clear plan and awareness.