What are the residency requirements for a divorce in Virginia?

Obtaining a divorce in Virginia is not always easy. If either spouse contests the divorce, you must establish grounds for an at-fault divorce. Even if your divorce is uncontested, you will need to meet Virginia’s residency requirements in order to file your divorce in the commonwealth.  

Residency Requirements to File for Divorce #

All states have rules about how long a person has to live in the state before filing for divorce. In Virginia, at least one spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months before filing their complaint for divorce. They must also be currently living in the state at the time the divorce complaint is filed. 

What Happens If Your Spouse Lives in Another State? #

As long as one partner meets the six-month residency rule, they can file their divorce in Virginia even if the other spouse resides in another state. A judge would grant a divorce if all the other requirements to obtain one are met.

However, if the spouse never lived in the commonwealth, the court could decide they do not have jurisdiction over the spouse and cannot make certain decisions that would affect them. Thus, the judge may not believe the court has the authority to make rulings about marital property in other states or to enforce child support obligations.

How to Establish Residency If You Are in the Military #

If one spouse is a member of the Armed Forces, special residency rules apply in the divorce. One of the partners must have been stationed in Virginia for six months before filing for divorce. A person is considered stationed in Virginia if one of following applies:

  • They live on a ship that is in port in Virginia.
  • They live on an air, naval, or military base in Virginia that the U.S. has exclusive jurisdiction over.

If a member of the Armed Forces is stationed in another country, they can meet the residency rules if they lived in Virginia for six months before their deployment.

If you are filing for divorce in Chesterfield County, you need the help of an experienced divorce attorney to be certain that you meet the requirements under Virginia law and to protect your rights. This is true even if you are filing a no-contest divorce. To find out how I can assist you, call my office to schedule a free consultation today.