Easy does it — Virginia’s new divorce decree
There has been a lot of big news lately — the seemingly endless presidential campaign, dying musicians, the life and times of the Kardashians. So I may forgive you if you have not heard of this little tidbit from March: it suddenly got a bit easier to get a divorce in Virginia.
In popular culture, divorces always seem to happen in a courtroom setting. A courtroom divorce is an easy setting for drama, whether it be an episode of Dynasty or a long-running TV show featuring a judge addressed by her first name. In real life, divorces are messy and time-consuming, and if the parties can avoid court, they are often advised to do so. To help facilitate this, in March Virginia’s legislature passed and Gov. Robert F. McDonnell signed House Bill 126, which allows uncontested divorce by affidavit and standardizes the required testimony of the moving party and his/her witness. Circuit courts in several counties and cities had already had this measure in place, but this law makes it uniform throughout the Commonwealth. If there are absolutely no remaining issues left to be hashed out, the party seeking the divorce may present his/her evidence by sworn affidavit rather than seeking an ore tenus hearing, thus eliminating the need to go and testify in open court, which can be brutal on people’s schedules, especially if they don’t reside in the city or county of jurisdiction. And there is more potential to streamline a no-fault divorce by a matter of months since there is less need to wait on the court bureaucracy to get your paperwork through the process.
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