An uncontested divorce is any divorce where all relevant issues (including the date of separation, property and debt distribution, spousal support, and all child-related issues) are agreed by the parties, and therefore there is nothing left for the Court to decide. An uncontested divorce is really an exercise in completing the appropriate paperwork to ask the Court to do what everyone involved agrees needs to be done. This is typically the most cost-efficient and fastest way to get divorced, and can take between 1 and 8 weeks from initial filing to entry of the Final Decree, depending on the jurisdiction.
There is nothing requiring you to hire an attorney to complete your divorce, whether contested or uncontested. However, even uncontested divorces have some fairly complex requirements and procedures that can trip people up, costing them time and money. We often have people contact us to help them untangle the situation after they have tried unsuccessfully to complete their own divorce without an attorney.
Hire an attorney, or at the very least consult with one early in your process. Save yourself the time, extra money and aggravation you'll probably face by trying to do it on your own.
Completing an Uncontested Divorce is usually the least costly way to get divorced. If you and your spouse are agreed on every relevant issue, then attorneys don't need to argue about anything. That usually means they can complete your "no-fault" uncontested divorce on a "flat fee" basis, so that you can be more certain of what the total cost will be. There may be some variables that can increase the cost of obtaining the divorce (the cost of service of process is the most common), but overall the cost is pretty predictable.
Assuming that there is no conflict of interest, we currently offer new clients representation in "no-fault" uncontested divorces for a flat fee of $899.00, which is due at the time you hire us. This price includes the filing fee, but excludes other costs (such as service of process) that may come up.
Note that there are some additional terms and conditions that you can discuss with the attorney during your consultation, and to which you'll need to agree in writing before the attorney can represent you. The attorney does not and will not represent you until you have signed a written fee agreement, provided the required information, and paid the required deposit.
Your attorney will need you to provide certain information in order to complete the uncontested divorce. The bare minimum of information you will need is as follows:
This is not an exhaustive list, and each case may require different information. You may also be required to provide other information, such as a detailed description of any and all agreements (including both oral and written agreements, such as a PSA) you and your spouse have made regarding any property or debt, as well as custody, visitation, child support, and spousal support agreements.
For the divorce to be valid, your spouse must receive "Notice" of the divorce proceedings. Usually, this is accomplished either by (a) your spouse waiving service of process by completing a notarized form, or (b) having a process server serve them with the paperwork. This typically requires your spouse's address, or for you to have regular personal contact with them so that they can be handed the proper paperwork. It is usually much easier and cheaper for all involved if you can provide a current address for your spouse.
However, even if you do not know where they live, in some cases you may be able to accomplish service of process by publishing a notice in the newspaper (called "service by publication"). The good news is that not being able to find an address for your spouse usually won't prevent you from getting divorced. The bad news is that publication can be expensive, it takes longer to complete the divorce, and certain issues (such as property and debt allocation, custody, visitation, support and alimony) cannot really be included in such a divorce.
You can contact our office anytime, day or night, and make an appointment to speak with the attorney about your case. We accept appointments by phone, and you can even schedule an appointment through our online portal. Once you've scheduled your appointment, be sure to complete your pre-appointment intake form.
If you have more questions, but aren't yet ready to speak to an attorney, consider purchasing our book, Virginia Family Law for Non-Lawyers , which provides answers to the most frequently-asked questions encountered in our years of practice. (The 2018 edition is available now. Keep an eye out for the new, revised edition in the summer of 2021!)
You can also look for more information on our blog, located here.