Virginia Divorce Checklist: Everything You Should Do Before Filing

woman completing Virginia divorce checklist

An uncontested divorce in Virginia is usually a straightforward process. However, you still have many issues to focus on, and it is not uncommon to forget some of them. Therefore, we recommend having a checklist not to miss any of the divorce stages and prepare better for the process.

To start the Virginia divorce process, you need to make sure you meet the state residency requirements. At least one of the spouses must prove that they have lived in Virginia for six months before initiating a divorce. To confirm the residency, you can provide bank statements, records of rent payments, etc. Spouses with minor children must live apart for at least a year before filing a divorce. If there are no kids involved, a couple must live separately for six months.

Spouses should resolve all the divorce issues, including the division of property, potential debts, custody of children, alimony, etc., before starting a divorce process.

Should I Get a Divorce Checklist?

It is easy to get overwhelmed with things to do before divorce because spouses are emotionally drained and under the stress of making everything right to secure their future. Planning for a divorce checklist can be really helpful to make sure you don’t forget any important details before filing for the divorce. The checklist should include as many points as possible, from financial matters and personal privacy to making copies of all the necessary documents.

 Divorce Preparation Checklist

Here is an uncontested divorce checklist that will help you make sure the divorce process goes as smoothly as possible. This divorce to-do list will assist you in navigating through divorce preparations efficiently, avoiding unnecessary stress and anxiety.

  1. Protect Your Privacy. To ensure all your personal details are safe during the divorce, consider the following steps to protect your sensitive information:
    • Create a new P.O. box for private correspondence, which your spouse should not get access to. You can also ask one of your trusted friends or relatives the permission to use their postal address.
    • Protect your online privacy. Change all the passwords to different types of your personal accounts – social media, e-mail, online banking, etc. Try to come up with unique passwords that are difficult to identify.
  2. Prepare Financial Information. Collecting information on your finances is an important point of any divorce process, which will help to protect your interests concerning assets division. Make sure to prepare lists of:
    • bank accounts and balances for the past 12 months.
    • credit cards in your name and/or your spouse’s name.
    • your monthly bills.
    • debts and who will be paying them.
    • all the property you and your spouse own.
    • savings and how you will divide them.
    • divorce fees and how much each spouse will be paying.
    • rental and vacation properties.
  3. Collect Information on Your Children. Divorce in Virginia with a child requires thorough preparation since the court will ask you to provide evidence that the child’s best interests will be considered after the divorce. Make sure you have all the following information:
    • Names, birthdays, and social security numbers of children.
    • Statements about all childcare expenses.
    • A list of the children’s extracurricular activities with days of the week and times when they take place.
    • An agreement about custody if you have it.
    • A copy of children’s school schedule.
  4. Make the Copies of Documents. It is essential to have originals and copies of all the documents listed in the financial information section. Besides, make copies of the:
    • Mortgage documents, deeds, deeds of trust.
    • Documents concerning large expenses incurred during the marriage.
    • Car(s) documents.
    • Statements for retirement accounts.
    • All the documents pertaining to the business you or your spouse own.
    • List of your personal valuable property, such as jewelry, furniture, etc., specifying their approximate worth.
  5. Complete the Divorce Forms. If you and your spouse can agree on all the issues of marriage termination, then you can initiate an uncontested divorce. To file for divorce in Virginia, you should first fill out all the necessary forms and submit to the court a Complaint for Divorce and other documents, such as an agreement on property division. It is better to clarify in advance with the county court clerk what documents you should prepare. You may complete the paperwork on your own. However, this process can be time-consuming and complicated. It is important to find up-to-date forms and fill them out correctly, as any mistakes in the documents will cause delays in the divorce process. For this reason, many couples turn to the help of online divorce services when it comes to preparing forms for their uncontested divorces.
  6. Take Pictures of Valuable Assets. Make sure you have not only the list of your valuable assets but also their pictures. These can include antiques and collectibles, pieces of art, expensive wine, gold, jewelry, valuable furniture, etc. Also, it is a good idea to take photos of each room in the house, paying attention to everything placed there.
  7. Plan for the Long-Term. No matter how long you have been married, your life after the divorce will surely be different. Planning your future finances is an important point to consider to get ready for a new stage of your life. Make sure you have answers to the following questions:
    • How will you pay taxes on the house?
    • Will you have money to pay all the bills?
    • Do you have the finances allocated to buy a new vehicle?
    • If there is a need to buy a new property, can you make a downpayment?

Considering the points specified above, planning for the divorce will help you go through the process efficiently and without unnecessary stress. If you have a list of things to do, you can be more confident in the successful ending of the marriage termination process.