Recent Changes in Uncontested Divorce Procedure – Corroborating Witness Requirement

Effective July 1, 2021, there have been a new wave of changes to Virginia Uncontested Divorce procedure. We’re here to help guide you through these new rules!

The Virginia General Assembly has officially done away with the requirement of testimony from a corroborating witness in uncontested divorce cases.[1].

In Virginia, the law makes distinctions between two different types of divorce cases: divorces based on fault grounds, and those based on no-fault grounds. The fault grounds for divorce are adultery, physical/mental cruelty, and desertion.[2] An individual can obtain a no-fault divorce based on having lived separate and apart without any cohabitation and without interruption for a period in excess of one year.[3] Additionally, if a couple does not have any minor children and have entered into a separation agreement, then the waiting period can be satisfied at the expiration of six months.[4]

In order to obtain a non-fault divorce, the law requires various documents to be filed and certain testimony to be given.[5] Virginia Code § 20-106 previously required that a third-party witness give testimony either orally or via affidavit, supporting facts and claims made by a person seeking an uncontested divorce; however, the law has changed to require only testimony of a party to the divorce.

This significantly eases the headache of a witness requirement, and decreases time and money spent on a no-fault divorce. It is important to note that this new rule on witness applies only to divorces filed after July 1, 2021. Therefore, if your divorce was filed prior to this date, a court may still require a corroborating witness to testify on your behalf.

Navigating through divorce is often overwhelming and confusing. The experienced attorneys at Hicks Crandall Juhl are ready and willing to help answer any questions you may have. To schedule a consultation, contact us here.

 

[1] Va. Code § 20-99; § 20-106.

[2] Va. Code § 20-91(1), (6).

[3] Va. Code § 20-91(9)(a).

[4] Id.

[5] Va. Code § 20-106.