5 More Critical Questions about the Virginia Divorce Process

Q26: Is spousal support permanent?

Not necessarily. Depending on the length of the marriage and other factors the court is required to consider, an award can be time-limited. Temporary support may also be awarded before the divorce has been finalized. Marriages that last for a short period of time may lead only to time-limited support arrangements. After longer marriages, the support can be indefinite, up until the point that either spouse dies or cohabits (or gets remarried) with another romantic partner for a year or longer. Various payment arrangements can be worked out, as well. For instance, the supporting spouse can pay in a lump sum or pay in increments over months or years. Agreements to pay spousal support must be carefully drafted to avoid inadvertently making terms of your agreement permanent.

Q27: Instead of a divorce, can you get an annulment?

An annulment is another process that ends the marriage. It’s reserved for marriages created as a result of coercion or fraud, or marriages that were not recognized under Virginia law – such as marrying a minor in some circumstances. An annulment declares that the marriage is null and void, although in Virginia, some marriages are simply void, and filing a petition for annulment is not even necessary (some people do so just for good measure and to have documentation). It’s a more complex type of action, and in some cases, the court will not have jurisdiction to hear matters related to marital assets and spousal support.

Q28: What if you don’t know where your spouse is? Can you still get divorced?

You can, but you first must publish a notice of the case you filed to the other spouse for several weeks in a local paper. Diligent efforts must be made to find the other spouse. The court may not have jurisdiction over property and support in these cases.

Q29: What is a “property settlement agreement,” and why might you create this document?

This contract establishes what rights and obligations the parties owe to one another and can provide for custody and visitation arrangements in cases where a divorcing couple has children; it discusses elements such as lawyer’s fees, spouse and child support, custody, and division of marital assets. This agreement is usually the product of a successful negotiation, mediation or other process that results in settlement.

Q30: To get divorced, do you need a witness?

According to Virginia law, you do. That witness must be someone other than your spouse. The witness can testify via affidavit and does not need to attend a hearing.

If you need assistance now with your Fairfax, Virginia divorce, call our team at DiPietro Family Law Group, PLLC right now for a consultation at (703) 370-5555.

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