Q: 8.01-296 VA code..I've given ALL documents to court and defendent by sheriff postings twice.
Defendent did not respond and is well beyond 21 days. I told clerk i wanted to pursue judgement by default. Clerk said there are some papers to fill out. What papers? Clerk told me I was almost done and had only one thing left to do but couldn't tell me what. Do I have to write a letter to the judge in my own words? Can you please explain "pleadings". Last letter from the judge said that I did not file the complaint properly.
A: Judgments or decrees by default are not allowed in divorce or annulment cases in Virginia.
Rule 3:19 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia provides as follows:
..."(c) Default Judgment and Damages.
(1) Except in suits for divorce or annulling a marriage, the court shall, on
motion of the plaintiff, enter judgment for the relief appearing to the court to be
Further, divorce cases require corroboration, independent of the admissions of either party. This requirement originated in the era of fault divorces, to prevent parties from colluding to obtain a divorce. Virginia Code Section 20-99 provides the requirement of corroboration as follows:
"§ 20-99. How such suits instituted and conducted; costs.
Such suit shall be instituted and conducted as other suits in equity, except as otherwise provided in this section:
1. No divorce, annulment, or affirmation of a marriage shall be granted on the uncorroborated testimony of the parties or either of them.
2. Whether the defendant answers or not, the cause shall be heard independently of the admissions of either party in the pleadings or otherwise..."
You should consult with an experienced Virginia divorce lawyer to discuss your options and the best course of action.
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