Filing for divorce is a stressful process. Trying to file for divorce while you are overseas serving your country is even more stressful. If you are in the armed forces and find yourself in need of a divorce, here is some helpful information to guide you through the process. Please note that our advice is based on laws governing divorce in the state of Virginia
Requirements for Filing a Divorce in Virginia
If you are in the armed forces you can file for divorce in the state of Virginia if you reside currently in Virginia and have been stationed within state for at least six months, were stationed for six months immediately prior to overseas assignment, or are serving on a ship that has its home port located in Virginia. A divorce can also be filed in Virginia if at least one spouse is a resident of the state. For example, if you are currently abroad and your spouse is living in Virginia you can still file a divorce in Virginia.
How Long Does It Take to Finalize Divorce?
Most states require a grace period of separation before granting the Decree of Divorce. Usually this is six months to a year. In the state of Virginia this grace period of separation is six months. During this time, you and your spouse must be living apart. If you are on active duty overseas this time apart in another country can count towards your grace period of separation. Once the six months are up finalizing the divorce does not take long. In some cases, a divorce can be granted in as little time as 15 days.
Do I Need to Show Up In Person to Court?
If located outside the United States or state of Virginia, you can file divorce by deposition. Filing divorce by deposition does not require court appearance to end marriage. For this method of filing for divorce a deposition must be completed by you. The deposition requires answering questions regarding your marriage, separation, children and shared assets. A witness is needed to verify the deposition.
In order to file for a divorce by deposition, the divorce needs to be uncontested meaning that both parties are in agreement on all terms of the divorce including property, child custody, and asset and debt allocation. If you are not in agreement with your spouse on particular terms of your divorce, then filing divorce by deposition will not be an option. You must file for a contested divorce and this requirements court appearance. Contested divorce proceedings are also more time consuming to settle, cost much more money, and are more stressful. We recommend avoiding contested divorce whenever possible.