Virginia dissolution of marriage custody

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Grounds for Divorce

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Divorce in Virginia

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Your case will be given a Civil Number as soon as it is filed. This is the number by which the Court references your case and it must appear on all documents regarding your divorce. After you file the Complaint you must determine how the Defendant will be served with the Complaint. If you arranged for this service, the Sheriff or Private Process Server will receive a Summons and a copy of the Complaint to serve on the Defendant. Once they have been served, the Defendant has 21 days to respond to the Complaint.

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These are matters where all property, custody, child support and spousal support rights are resolved, and neither party is going to put on any fault grounds for divorce, and where neither party is going to put on any evidence of the facts and circumstances leading to the dissolution of the marriage.

If there are any property rights to be resolved, and the parties desire to put on evidence of facts and circumstances leading to the dissolution of the marriage, the case will still be heard by a Commissioner along with the grounds for divorce. The Commissioner is a local attorney appointed by the Court to hear the evidence in the divorce case. This Commissioner reports upon the matter to the Court and makes a recommendation as to whether or not a divorce should be granted. You may submit the Decree of Reference to the Court after the Defendant has filed an answer to the Complaint.

Seven to ten days after filing the Decree of Reference, you must call to receive the name and phone number of the Commissioner who has been appointed; you must contact him to arrange a time for your hearing. You do not have to do this if the Defendant has waived notice. You must be prepared to present evidence to support every allegation in your Complaint. You must also bring a witness to corroborate your testimony. Many Commissioners question you and your witness to elicit testimony.

Some Commissioners may require you to present all of the evidence and to question the witness yourself. After the hearing, the Commissioner has 30 days to submit his report to the Court. The Commissioner will notify you and the Court once the report has been filed. You will receive a copy of this report. At the time of the hearing you must submit the original proposed Final Decree of Divorce and a copy of any Property Settlement Agreement the parties may have executed.

The Decree must contain the endorsement of each party who is legally entitled to notice of the hearing and who will not be appearing at the hearing, unless you will be serving the notice of the date and time of the hearing on your spouse. The original of any Property Settlement Agreement should be presented to the Court at the hearing. The hearing before the Judge lasts approximately fifteen minutes.

You must be prepared to present evidence to support every allegation in your Complaint through the testimony of yourself and a corroborating witness.