Danville, VA asked in Divorce and Family Law for Virginia

Q: Can I file for a divorce without my spouse in Virginia?

My spouse is trying to keep in a marriage against my will.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James H. Wilson Jr.
James H. Wilson Jr.
  • Glen Allen, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: A divorce can be obtained in Virginia without the mutual consent of the parties, provided the appropriate Circuit Court has jurisdiction. If a spouse wants to affect his or her spouse's property rights, the court must have personal jurisdiction over the defendant spouse, which requires some meaningful connection to Virginia sufficient to satisfy Constitutional due-process rights. Personal jurisdiction in divorce cases is usually based on the fact that the defendant spouse last resided in Virginia as husband and wife, or spouse and spouse, although there may be other bases sufficient for personal jurisdiction, such as owning real estate here.

If personal jurisdiction is not required, it can be based on the plaintiff spouse's residence and domicile in Virginia for at least six months. There are special rules for service members and employees of the State Department.

When the parties do not mutually consent to divorce, or the resolution of all the incidents of the marriage, the divorce is considered contested. That means there will eventually be a trial, where testimony and other evidence is introduced in support of a particular outcome on a particular issues. The parties can conduct discovery to find out about the other party's evidence. Contested divorce cases are often expensive and stressful for all involved.

Anyone interested in a divorce in Virginia should consult with an experienced family-law lawyer.

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