DIY Uncontested Divorce

Many people do not realize that filing for an uncontested divorce is not complex in Virginia. But it does require submitting precise documents to the court. Because Virginia courts can be persnickety about the documents, it can be frustrating for many Virginians.

There are a lot of online sites that try to explain this, but they have shortcomings:

They do not explain what an uncontested divorce is.

The do not help soon-to-be divorced couples understand how Virginia courts view such issues as division of assets and debts, support, and custody.

They appear to be designed by non-lawyers who have never represented someone in court in Virginia or they were designed by hardworking court personnel who have not had time to update the documents to be consistent with recent legal changes.

I have represented divorcing clients throughout Virginia. I have created resources for self-represented parties who don’t want to pay for an expensive attorney.

When can I get divorced?

In Virginia, couples may file to divorce after 6 months of separation with a property settlement agreement (sometimes called marital separation agreement) if they have no children, or 12 months if the couple has children under 18.

What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce refers to a divorce where the issues have been decided between the soon-to-be divorced couple and no issues need to be decided by the judge.

How can I get an uncontested divorce?

What are my next steps? Choose your scenario below:

What if I haven’t settled everything with my spouse yet?

The vast majority of divorces in Virginia are uncontested and settled out of court. However, it does not always start off this way. In the Separation Agreement section, I walk you through the issues that need to be settled before you can file for an uncontested divorce. If you and your spouse have not agreed to everything yet, but you believe that through negotiating, you can come to an agreement, the first step is to work with your spouse to create the Separation Agreement. As you work through each issue, hopefully you can negotiate to come to an agreement and then move forward with an uncontested divorce. If you are unable to come to an agreement, you should either seek mediation or hire a lawyer to move forward.

Is this site for you? Only subscribe below if you meet all of the following:

  • You and your spouse are not active members of the U.S. military. (You can create a separation agreement, but this site does not yet support filing for divorce for members of the military).
  • You and your spouse are both of sound mind.
  • You and your spouse have not already filed for divorce in a court of law. (You can get an uncontested divorce if one of you has already filed; however, the instructions on this site do not explain how to do this).
  • You and your spouse  are on speaking terms, and you believe that you will be able to settle outstanding issues.
  • Your spouse is willing to sign documents to facilitate the divorce.
  • You have access to Microsoft Word (or a compatible program) and printer to create documents.

Unsupported scenarios

This site provides information about filing a divorce with two parties who are working together, and both are willing to cooperate in signing documents. This site does not explain how to file for divorce in some other scenarios that sometimes occur:

1) One spouse has disappeared and is not around to sign any documents.

2) You have already filed for and received a child support or custody order from a J&DR court.

3) You have already filed for spousal support with DCSE.


4) Some combination of the above.

For these scenarios, talk to an attorney. Mathews Law offers strategy sessions if you would like more information about your divorce options (Mathews Law is currently not taking new contested divorce cases, but does offer strategy sessions). You can set up an appointment here:

Also, remember that any information you receive here is not legal advice. Talk to a lawyer if you would like to understand how this information applies in your specific situation.

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Get everything you need for an uncontested divorce including a separation agreement, templates, and instructions.