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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 116756
Experience:  Experienced attorney: Family law, Estate Law, SS Law etc.
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Divorce, if both parties agree to divorce and the children

Customer Question

Divorce, if both parties agree to divorce and the children are 20 years of age or older. Can you file with the courts without legal representation ? USA, Virginia. Also, if you have been living in the same residence but in separate bedrooms for 10 months, what date do you use for date of separation? The marriage was 25 years and one party has supported the family financially, will alimony be a factor. Or can we just split all assets 50/50? Please advise.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

You have to be under separate roofs for 6 months and while someone may claim separation and under the same roof, it requires a witness to prove and the courts rarely go for that and will insist you be living separately and apart under different roofs. You can file the uncontested divorce though without an attorney (here is the VA law guide uncontested divorce guide with form links as well: http://www.valegalaid.org/resource/lawhelp-interactive-no-fault-divorce-intervie).

You use the date you actually lived separate and apart as the beginning date and 6 months from that is when the divorce can be filed. Alimony is not mandatory, it is up to the parties or the court. If the party does not want to pay alimony, then you are likely going to have a contested divorce, because in a 25 year marriage, typically a lifetime alimony can be awarded.

Assets, including pensions, are divided 50-50 as well and you need to decide who will get what.

If the two of you can come to an agreement on alimony and the property division, great, you can put that in writing and file that agreement with the divorce. If you cannot come to an agreement, you need to get a local attorney to represent you to protect your rights to those benefits.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, that answers my question. i have another question. If a separation is agreed upon, and one party moves out and rents a room. Should he file the papers and separation agreement prior to vacating the home? Also, does the party residing in the home after the papers have been filed have to start supporting herself financially? Can the party who is leaving the residence openly have a relationship with another women?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your reply.

Once the person leaves the home, that is a separation and the party remaining in the residence can prevent their return if they are not reconciling. The party remaining in the home should be the one filing the papers as soon as the other person leaves the marital home asking the court for a legal separation from bed and board and also a motion for possession of the marital home to keep the other party from trying to come back.

The party residing in the home does not have to start supporting themselves without a court order. The parties still owe a duty to support each other and the party leaving the house is liable to continue paying their share of the bills until the court says otherwise.

NEITHER party can have a relationship until the court issues an order of legal separation.