Divorce in Virginia: Can you file without a lawyer?
- There are two types of divorce in Virginia: “Fault” and “No-fault”
o It’s harder to get a “fault-based” divorce, since the fault grounds are very limited, have to be proved, and will usually be contested by your spouse.
o On the other hand, to get a “no-fault” divorce in Virginia, you only need to prove:
- that you’ve been separated for at least a year, or
- if you and your spouse don’t have any minor children together AND you’ve both signed a Separation Agreement – that you’ve been separated for at least 6 months.
- Court procedures in the Circuit Court are complicated - even in no fault divorces - so most people hire attorneys to assist them. However, in certain situations, you may be able to file for a divorce successfully on your own - without an attorney representing you. This is particularly important for folks with low incomes, who really can’t afford to hire an attorney.
We have designed this interactive on-line interview to see if your circumstances might be appropriate for filing for a divorce without an attorney. As you go through this on-line interview, we’ll also collect the necessary information to allow you to print the court pleadings and forms you’ll need to file for a no-fault divorce on your own if your situation is appropriate.
This No-Fault Divorce packet has been developed by a team of Virginia legal aid lawyers from across the state, for use by Virginians who can’t afford to hire an attorney to assist them in obtaining a divorce. NOTE: THIS INTERVIEW SHOULD NOT BE USED IF YOU ARE A VETERAN or the SPOUSE OF A VETERAN. The interview is available here: Do It Yourself Divorce
Please give us your feedback on the no fault divorce interactive program you did.
Find Your Local Legal Aid Office
If you have contested or complicated divorce issues where you need an attorney, and you can’t afford to hire one, you’ll also find links on this page to help you locate your local legal aid office. Virginia has nine legal aid programs around the state. Please use the find legal help page to locate your local office.