When both spouses have attorneys, the following are the steps to obtain an uncontested divorce in a case that will be filed in the Fairfax County Circuit Court:
- Provided you and your spouse have a signed Marital Settlement Agreement, one spouse will serve as the plaintiff and his or her attorney will draft and file a Complaint for Divorce with the court on the plaintiff’s behalf. A Complaint for Divorce is the document that starts the divorce process with the court. It contains the factual allegations and legal elements which, when proven, show the court you are eligible for a divorce.
- The plaintiff’s attorney forwards the Complaint to the other spouse’s attorney. That spouse is called the defendant. Shortly afterwards, the defendant’s attorney files an Answer to the Complaint with the Court, in which the attorney admits or denies the allegation in the Complaint.
- The plaintiff and a third party witness sign Divorce Affidavits before a notary. These Affidavits are prepared by the plaintiff’s attorney and verify, in writing, the essential aspects of the case. The plaintiff’s witness should be someone who knows the plaintiff reasonably well, would recognize the defendant by sight, and has been to the plaintiff’s residence multiple times since the parties separated.
- One of the two attorneys drafts a Final Order of Divorce, which the other then reviews and which both Fairfax divorce attorneys sign. The Final Order is then submitted to the court for a judge’s signature, along with an original copy of the parties’ Marital Settlement Agreement and the plaintiff’s and his or her witness’s Affidavits. Once the judge signs the Final Order, the parties are divorced.