and Rules of The Supreme Court of Virginia are available on line at
A review of these laws may help you better understand the divorce process.
All contested divorce cases will proceed and be set for trial at a Scheduling
Conference set through the “Divorce Case Tracking System.” If all issues, such as
grounds for divorce and distribution of property, are totally uncontested a party may
request a Judge of the Court to hear the evidence Ore Tenus (live testimony) without
waiting for the Scheduling Conference date or the scheduled trial date. This can be done
only after filing, in proper form, the necessary documents and a Request for Ore Tenus
Hearing, which are discussed below.
In order for you to obtain a divorce in Virginia, either you or your spouse must be
a resident and domiciliary of the Commonwealth of Virginia for at least six months prior
to filing suit. (Virginia Code section 20-97.)
In your Complaint you must allege specific grounds upon which a divorce may be
granted. The two most common grounds are no-fault divorces based upon either a six-
month separation or a one-year separation. You are eligible for a six-month divorce
ONLY IF you have entered into a written separation agreement and there are no minor
children born of the parties, born of either party and adopted by the other, or adopted by
both parties. These facts must be stated in the Complaint. In any no-fault divorce you and
your spouse must have been separated for the required amount of time PRIOR TO
FILING YOUR SUIT. This separation period must also be clearly alleged in your
Complaint. You may NOT file your Complaint for Divorce before the appropriate
separation period has expired or your case will be dismissed or could be determined to be
invalid. If the case is dismissed you will have to file for divorce again and pay another
filing fee. You can, of course, also file a Complaint alleging a “fault” ground for divorce,
if supported by the facts. All grounds for divorce are set out in Virginia Code sections 20-
91 and 20-95.
In addition to stating the grounds and residency requirements, the Complaint must
include the following allegation s:
• current residences of both parties;
• the date and place of marriage;
• the names and dates of birth of all minor children born or adopted into the
• a statement that both parties are over eighteen (18) years of age; and,
• a statement of each party's military status.
• If you proceed pro se you will be representing yourself.
• The Clerk and the Court cannot advise or represent you.
FBA-H-53 Pro Se Divorce Broc hure 3 9/17/2009
(Created by Fairfax Bar Association)