How Do I File for Divorce in Virginia?

Whether you are considering a divorce or responding to divorce papers served by your spouse, it’s important to know the basic requirements for a Virginia divorce. Because the divorce process is complicated, working closely with an experienced attorney at Curran Moher Weis is the surest path forward.


Virginia divorce actions are filed in its circuit courts. In order to file for a divorce in Virginia, either you or your spouse must have been an actual and bona fide resident and domiciliary of Virginia for at least 6 months preceding the filing of the lawsuit. You cannot file for divorce unless you have been living separate and apart with the intention to divorce for a certain period of time, as follows:


  1. If you and your divorcing spouse do not have minor children, you cannot file until after you’ve been separated for at least six months and have executed a written property settlement agreement.
  2. If you and your divorcing spouse do not have minor children, you cannot file a no-fault divorce until you’ve been separated for at least one year, unless you qualify to file on fault grounds such as adultery.


The initial document that gets filed with the court is called the “Complaint for Divorce.” The Complaint for Divorce contains information regarding you, your spouse, your children, and the reasons for your divorce. The Complaint for Divorce includes a detailed “prayer for relief” section, wherein you ask the court to make certain awards or determinations because of your divorce. The prayer for relief section generally includes a request for the court to determine child support, spousal support, the custody and visitation of any child, and the division of any property and debts. The Complaint for Divorce must be “served” on the other spouse so that he or she has noticed that there is a pending divorce action. Service is typically accomplished by the sheriff or a private process server. In lieu of formal service, the other spouse may also formally “accept” the service of process by signing the proof of service before a notary.

The attorneys at Curran Moher Weis are able to assist you with the filing of your Complaint for Divorce or responding to your spouse’s Complaint for Divorce. Call now for assistance.

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