To obtain a divorce in Virginia, you or your spouse must be a resident of Virginia for a minimum of six months prior to filing for a divorce, Virginia Code § 20-97.
If there are no children from the marriage, you must be separated for a minimum of six months and have a written property settlement agreement when you file for a divorce, Virginia Code § 20-91.
If there are children from the marriage, you must be separated a minimum of one year before you file for a divorce, Virginia Code § 20-91.
In Virginia, Separation Agreements are only filed AFTER a divorce case has been filed with the Court.
The information provided herein is not intended to be legal advice, and you should not rely on it as such.
You are strongly encouraged to hire an attorney.
If you choose to represent yourself (pro se), you will be expected to follow the same procedures as an attorney.
Please remember the Clerk’s Office staff and the judicial law clerks are unable to give legal advice. They cannot assist you by answering legal questions or questions regarding any forms, etc. They are prohibited by state law from giving you legal advice or assistance. Please do not ask them.
For more information, or for answers to specific questions, please contact an attorney.
The information provided herein is not legal advice and you should not rely on it as such. The following information is provided as a guide to help with filing a divorce. The Clerk’s Office staff can not give legal advice. They cannot assist you by answering legal questions or questions regarding any forms. They are prohibited by state law from giving you legal advice or assistance. If you choose to represent yourself (pro se), you will be expected to follow the same procedures as an attorney. It is your responsibility to ensure all paperwork is filed correctly. If your divorce paperwork is not filed correctly the Judge may dismiss your case and you will have to refile and pay a new filing fee.
Uncontested Divorce Filing Procedures
1. This free interactive online module at valegalaid.org will help you prepare the necessary forms to file. Not all divorces are the same and depending on your circumstances you may not be eligible to use this module. The module will ask all the questions needed to fill out the divorce forms and/or to determine if you are eligible to use the module.
1. If you are using this module you must print the forms and follow the instructions.
2. Brochure about the divorce module.
3. For more information about divorces visit valegalaid.org.
2. File the Divorce Complaint with the Lee Circuit Court Clerk’s Office by mail or hand-delivery along with a cover letter explaining what you are requesting. You must also state in the cover letter what type of service you are requesting (see section 4 below).
3. Upon filing the Complaint the filing fees of $80 plus $12 sheriff’s fees(if applicable) for service for each document to be served are due. The Clerk’s Office accepts cash, check, and money order.
4. You must serve the Complaint on the Spouse. There are several options available for service. The two most common types are:
A. Service by the Sheriff ($12 fee applies)
A. Before the Complaint is served on the defendant, the court will issue a Summons, which explains that the Complaint has been filed and your spouse has 21 days to respond to your Complaint. The sheriff will serve the Summons along with a copy of the Complaint for Divorce on your spouse. The sheriff will then report back to the clerk when the defendant was served and with what type of service.
B. Accept Service (no fee)
A. This is where the defendant agrees to accept a copy of the Summons and Complaint from you, and to sign a form under oath stating that s/he received the copies and does not need the sheriff to serve them. The Clerk’s Office will prepare the summons and you must give him/her the Summons along with a copy of the Complaint for Divorce. Once your spouse has signed the form, you must file the original waiver form with the court.
2. If your spouse responds to the Complaint within 21 days by filing something with the court, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. If your spouse does not respond to the Complaint within the 21 days, you can proceed with finalizing the divorce.
3. Steps and forms needed to finalize the divorce.
A. Cover letter, mail cover letter to the court stating that you would like the Clerk’s Office to file the following documents and to present the file to the court for final approval. If you would like the clerk to email you a certified copy of the Final Divorce Decree please state that in your cover letter along with an email address.
B. Property Settlement Agreement, if you and your spouse have signed a Property Settlement Agreement (also called a Separation Agreement, Mediated Agreement, or other similar title), you must file the original Agreement with your Complaint, and attach a copy of the Agreement to the Plaintiff’s Affidavit and Final Decree when they are filed with the court. The Agreement will become part of the court’s order granting the divorce, so that you or your spouse can enforce its terms in court. It is highly recommended that anyone entering into or preparing a property settlement agreement consult an attorney. You may lose any future claim or right to property or custody.
C. Plaintiff’s and Witness’s Affidavits or Depositions
D. Private Addendum concerning social security numbers.
E. Order Granting Name Change if applicable.
F. VS-4, this form is sent to Vital Records as a report of your divorce. You can get this form and fill it out by hand in the Clerk’s Office.
G. Final Decree of Divorce
4. The court will mail each party a certified copy of the Final Decree of Divorce. The court will also send the VS-4 to Vital Records in Richmond.
5. The Clerk will record and index all orders entered into the appropriate Order Book