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What are the residency requirements to file for divorce?

On Behalf of | Oct 27, 2023 | Divorce |

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the divorce rate as of 2021 in Virginia was 3.1 per 1,000 people. In each of these cases, the individuals had to meet specific residency requirements to receive a divorce in the state.

Specific residency criteria are a strict requirement before initiating divorce proceedings.

Residency requirements

Virginia’s residency requirements for divorce are relatively straightforward. To file for divorce, at least one of the spouses must have been a bona fide resident living in the state for a minimum of six months before filing the divorce petition.

Exception to the rule

There are specific provisions for military personnel. If a military spouse has orders in Virginia and resides in the state, this will fulfill the residency requirement. However, the civilian spouse must still meet the standard six-month residency criteria if he or she wishes to file the petition.

Residency and the right court

The filing spouse must ensure he or she files the divorce petition with the circuit court of the city or county where at least one of the spouses resides. Improper filing can result in delays.

Proof of residency

When filing for divorce, a person should prepare to show evidence of residency. This can include utility bills, rental agreements or other documents that demonstrate a presence and intent to remain in Virginia.

Meeting these residency requirements is essential for a divorce case to proceed in Virginia. Failure to do so can lead to delays or even dismissal of the case. If a person is unsure they meet the requirements, they should check with the court proper to filing.


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