Q: Divorce when in separate states
If my spouse files for divorce in Virginia but I am about to move to another state, am I able to handle my part in the divorce from that other state. Would I hire a lawyer in Virginia? Would I have to physically appear in court or could my lawyer appear for me? What happens if I cannot afford to travel back and forth to Virginia?
Divorces easily fall into one of two categories: contested and uncontested. An uncontested divorce typically proceeds as a no fault divorce based on a signed written separation agreement between the spouses. All the incidents and consequences of the marriage have been addressed: spousal support; child custody, child visitation, and child support; the division of marital property; the allocation of marital debts; treatment of tax consequences; payment of attorney's fees and costs. With a signed written separation agreement, there should be no surprises, and no need for multiple court appearances. Typically, one party accepts service of the complaint for divorce and makes no appearances beyond that.
A contested divorce is an entirely different matter. One or more of the consequences of the marriage will be decided by a judge. This can require any number of court appearances and evidentiary hearings. In some cases, a contested divorce case is the best way to proceed, particularly when the other party is unreasonable or vindictive and there are significant financial consequences. With a contested divorce, there a some procedural measures that do not require the spouse's appearance; others do. For an out-of-state litigant, this means inconvenience, stress, and additional expenses.
Any one facing a divorce case in Virginia should consult with an experienced divorce lawyer.
For an out-of-state litigant, whether the case is contested or uncontested makes a huge difference.
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