Basic Fairfax County Divorce Procedure

Basic Fairfax County Divorce Procedure

You or your spouse must be a resident of Virginia for at least six months prior to filing for divorce to obtain a divorce in Fairfax, Virginia. If you have no children from the marriage then you must be separated for a minimum of six months and have a written agreement on settlement of property before you may file for divorce. If there are children from the marriage, you must be separated a minimum of one year before you may file for divorce. Fairfax County Divorce Procedure explained:

The formal requirements to obtain a divorce in Fairfax, Virginia are basically the same for a contested case as for an uncontested case but it is easier, quicker and less when the case is uncontested. 

If you choose to represent yourself, you will be expected to follow the same procedures as a divorce lawyer. 

Need a lawyer? Please contact the Fairfax County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service for recommendation.  If you need to research divorce procedures, please visit the Fairfax Public Law Library located in Suite 115 of the Fairfax County Courthouse.

The following outline gives the Fairfax County Divorce Procedure. Not each stage of these procedures must be done to obtain a divorce in every case, as many of them are only used in contested cases. Some are statutory requirements and used statewide, whereas others are a matter of local procedure and may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction across the state.

Basic Fairfax County Divorce Procedure:

1. Bill of Complaint: 

The court can grant such relief as:

(a) A decree of divorce and on what grounds;

(b) Equitable Distribution of marital property;

(c) Custody and/or visitation;

(d) Child Support

(e) Spousal Support

(f) Temporary use of the marital home;

(g) Attorney’s Fees.

2. Grounds of Divorce

The commonly used grounds of divorce are:

a) Living separate and apart for more than one year;

b) Living separate and apart for more than six months, and having no minor children, and having a Separation Agreement;

c) Adultery;

d) Desertion;

e) Cruelty.

3. Service of Process

4. Defendant’s Answer and Cross-Bill

5. Pendent Lite Issues

6. Discovery

8. Custody Track

9. Trial Date

10. Commissioner in Chancery

11. Settlement by Agreement:

In recent years, there has been increasing emphasis by lawyers and the courts to using Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in settling family law cases. Some of the ADR techniques and procedures used are:

A. Negotiation

B. Experts

C. Neutral Evaluation

12. Final Hearing


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3. Survive the post-divorce depression

4. How to prepare your child for the divorce