VIRGINIA — What is an annulment?
What does it mean?
And how long can you stay married?
For the past three decades, Virginians have been able to file for divorce without a lawyer.
But a recent law that was signed into law by Governor Robert F. McDonnell last year made it easier to get a divorce without the help of a lawyer in Virginia.
A divorce is typically done through a court-ordered mediation session between the parties, with both parties having to sign the agreement.
Under McDonnell’s law, you can file a divorce if you have lived in Virginia for at least five years.
If you don’t live in Virginia and want to file a separation petition, you have to meet one of two requirements: You must have lived with your spouse in Virginia or have had a spouse who lived with you in Virginia when you filed for divorce.
You can’t file a separate petition if your spouse hasn’t lived in the state for five years, but if you lived in Maryland, Pennsylvania or Delaware when you signed a separation agreement, you may qualify.
There are some legal hurdles to obtaining a divorce.
Your petition must be filed with the clerk of the circuit court in Virginia, which may take weeks or even months.
And there is a $100 filing fee, which can be costly for some couples.
However, there are several ways you can get a legal divorce in the United States:The Virginia divorce process is different than the one in Maryland and Pennsylvania, where a judge handles the matter.
For a Virginia divorce, both parties must live in the same household.
But Virginia doesn’t have a separation of property statute, so if one party moves out of the house or leaves the state, the other spouse can claim the property in bankruptcy.
For more on the Virginia divorce laws, check out the article below.