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I am a resident of Fairfax, and I got married in Chicago,

Hello, I am a resident...
Hello, I am a resident of Fairfax, Virginia and I got married in Chicago, Illinois in 2014. My wife and I live in Virginia and we have been residents of Fairfax county for the last 1 1/2 years. I would like to file for a divorce and I want to know what is the process to do so. I moved out of my old apartment in June 2017 which I used to share with my wife in Herndon, VA and started living separately in Fairfax, VA. I still have my name on the lease where my wife lives in Herndon, VA. What are the first steps that I need to do in order to file for my divorce? Also, my health insurance is through her employer. Do all these things matter like lease and health insurance still connected with the spouse when I am filing for my divorce?
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8/16/2017
FamilyAnswer
FamilyAnswer, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 32,382
Experience: 10 + years of handling Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody and Child Support cases
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Hi! I will be the professional that will be helping you today. I look forward to providing you with information to help with your question and concern

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To obtain a divorce in Virginia, either you or your spouse must be a resident of Virginia for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. If there are no children from the marriage, you must be separated for a minimum of six months and have a written property settlement agreement before you may file for divorce. If there are children from the marriage, you must be separated a minimum of one year before you may file for divorce. Health insurance and keeping a party on for X amount of time will need to be addressed and the issue with the lease and if she will remain until it expires, at which time she will have to vacate or place it in her name.

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/courts/circuit/pdf/fba-h-53.pdf

The Divorce Complaint is filed in the Circuit Court, Civil Intake Division, along with the following:

  • VS-4 State Statistical Form (available from the Civil Intake Division)
  • Domestic Case Coversheet (available from the Civil Intake Division and below)
  • Civil Fees (see Civil Fee Schedule) - All fees are payable to the Clerk of the Circuit Court by cash, cashier's check or money order. Personal checks are not accepted.
    • Filing Fee - fee required to file a Divorce Complaint
    • Service Fee
      • If the Defendant resides in Virginia, you may serve her/him through the Office of the Sheriff (see Civil Fee Schedule for Sheriff Service Fee).
      • If the Defendant does not reside in Virginia, you must make arrangements to have the documents served.
      • If the Defendant is willing to accept service of the documents, you may have the documents mailed to you; or the Defendant may come to the Circuit Court Civil Intake Division to sign the documents and accept service.

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/courts/circuit/pdf/ccr-a-20.pdf

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
34;Health insurance and keeping a party on for X amount of time will need to be addressed and the issue with the lease and if she will remain until it expires, at which time she will have to vacate or place it in her name."
Will removing my name from the lease helps me in the future because it's a month-month lease and I can get my name off the lease if that will help me in the future with all the proceedings? The reason, I ask you about the lease is to prove that we were living separately for 6 months and if my name is ***** ***** lease in the old apartment that might not be true on paper even though I am living separately in a different apartment. How exactly you want my health insurance addressed since its through her employer at the moment? Is it better off if I buy my own or is it okay to stay through her employer until I serve the divorce papers? I am looking at 6 months time-frame which will give me an option to buy new insurance in January 2018. Thanks for your time.

You can state in the petition which is filed that you have been living separately and if the Judge asks or questions this lease, if it is even brought up, you can simply explain the situation. I am inclined to believe she would testify to the same, regarding you living at a different location, during all this time. You do want her off the lease and to vacate, so you are not liable to the landlord, going forward, so you would ask that she sign a lease in her own name or move. As far as the issue with health insurance, you can ask to be kept on her while the divorce is pending, if it is more affordable. You can also see if / how long you could remain on after the divorce and if the company will allow it, if it is better insurance and more affordable as well. If not, you could buy it on your own. Moreover, if you are divorced, that is an qualifying event that you would allow you to enroll and buy insurance outside of open enrollment.

You are welcome. Please let me know if there is anything else, as I would be happy to respond. If not, please remember to rate my help at this time at the top of this page, prior to leaving, so I can receive the proper credit, for our time together. A 5 STAR rating is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
If I understand it correctly, I moved out of my old apartment on June 4, 2017. So, I will be eligible to file the paperwork on Dec 5, 2017 correct? Can you please confirm? Is there anything else that I need to do prior to that?

Correct. If you have no minor children and you enter into a valid separation agreement, you will only have to live apart for six months.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
How soon am I eligible to apply for a valid separation agreement? Is it after Dec 4, 2017 or can I do it now?

You could do it now, since you are separated.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
What is the process or procedure to file a separation agreement?

You would need to draft it and have it signed by all parties. You can see if the clerk of court in the family division has it for you to fill out or use a 3rd party service to buy the form or retain legal counsel. If you look online, there are examples and templates of it.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Is it mandatory to file the separation agreement (or is it an optional step) before I can file for divorce on Dec 5, 2017 since it would be 6 months by then that we were living separately.
OR
Can I file for divorce directly on Dec 5, 2017 instead of not doing anything until then but live separately?

It is certainly in your best interest to review the link below, as it breaks down and explains the process, when a party is acting pro se. It is important that I shared with you that the site does not allow us to provide you with legal advice and only information, so I can not tell you to do X, Y and Z. The information I provided really goes into tremendous detail to guide you, so this is done properly.

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/courts/circuit/pdf/fba-h-53.pdf

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You would want to file the agreement when you file for divorce.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Just final follow-up question to our discussion and to your final response related to it. I figured it was a 130 pages document so that's why I am here asking if it's mandatory to file the agreement before filing for divorce. Your inputs are appreciated. Thank you.

You can file it when you file for divorce. You are very welcome

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You are welcome. Please let me know if there is anything else, as I would be happy to respond. If not, please remember to rate my help at this time at the top of this page, prior to leaving, so I can receive the proper credit, for our time together. A 5 STAR rating is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Ask Your Own Family Law Question
Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Thanks for your inputs.

You are welcome and if you have not already, I kindly ask that you rate my help at the top at this time, so the site provides me with the proper credit.

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