There are 4 key steps to get divorced in Virginia if you use a mediator:
1. INTAKE PHONE CALLS with both spouses (individually). In these calls we discuss:
– Applicable Laws
– Custody Arrangements
– Financial and Tax problems
– Child Support
– Spousal Support (Alimony)
– Various settlement options
2. MEET WITH MEDIATOR. In mediation we will settle all matters of custody, child support, spousal support (alimony), and the division of assets and debt. We do this through a fair process of assisted negotiation, the generation of settlement options, and a focus on the present and future (not the past).
3. DRAFTING SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT. The mediator writes up the court-ready Settlement Agreement. After the document goes through the editing process, the spouses sign it with a notary. All of the terms of your Settlement Agreement are a contract which is enforceable in a court of law.
4. FILE DIVORCE PAPERS IN COURT. Finally, you will need to hire an attorney (most clients use my referral list) to prepare and file the divorce paperwork (other than the Settlement Agreement, which is complete at this time). Once the judge signs your Final Order of Divorce (a.k.a. divorce decree), the process is complete.
In Virginia, you are eligible to file for divorce when you have been living separate and apart for 12 month (with kids) or 6 months (without kids).