Divorce, by its very nature, is an adversarial process. Most Virginia couples whose marriages are headed for termination realize the advantages of avoiding an all-out war in achieving a fair split. The ugly, contentious divorce is almost a cliché where exorbitant amounts of money are spent, emotions are exhausted, and a settlement nobody is happy with is imposed by the court. On the other end of the spectrum, where the two parties can amicably agree on all the legal issues necessary to obtain a divorce, a streamlined process may be possible.
The relative ease in which a couple can marry belies the scope of legal issues that must be settled for a divorce to receive final judicial approval. Divorce experts list the following as matters that must be agreed upon by a couple considering an uncontested divorce: division of personal and real property; division of debts and assets; child support, child custody and visitation rights where minor children are involved; and alimony or spousal support. A written agreement on these issues should be filed at the same time the initial divorce petition is filed with the court.
The most obvious benefit of an uncontested divorce is the cost savings although it is advisable to obtain legal counsel to verify that the paperwork is in order. Additionally, uncontested divorces are finalized more quickly than contested matters. On the other hand, where child custody or property division is complicated, the trade-off for simplicity and cost savings can result in an unsatisfactory result for at least one of the parties.
Each couple is in a unique situation, and organizing a split may be complicated. A family law attorney may provide guidance on the rights and responsibilities of the parties going through a divorce.