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Contested Divorce Attorney Virginia

In Virginia, a contested divorce is needed when couples can’t agree to the terms of the divorce and must go before a court to resolve them. During the trial, the judge will listen to both parties and make an informed decision on each issue. A contested divorce can even last several months to over a year.

Some issues a judge may have to decide include:

  • Child custody
  • Child and spousal support
  • Custody and visitation
  • Division of property owned
Slovensky Law can help protect your rights and interests in a contested divorce. We are experienced and dedicated to providing the personal attention our clients need.

Grounds for a Contested Divorce in Virginia

In Virginia, there are two types of grounds for divorce: no-fault divorce and fault divorce.

  • A no-fault divorce is when neither spouse has committed any wrongdoing.
  • A fault divorce is where one spouse has committed an act that justifies the dissolution of the marriage. These allegations can include:
  • Committing adultery
  • Cruelty
  • Felony conviction
  • Abandonment of marriage
  • A no-fault divorce is when neither spouse has committed any wrongdoing.
  • A fault divorce is where one spouse has committed an act that justifies the dissolution of the marriage. These allegations can include:
  • Committing adultery
  • Cruelty
  • Felony conviction
  • Abandonment of marriage

A contested divorce is also necessary if you think that your spouse is hiding income or assets or if your spouse is not properly valuing marital property in the process of dividing it.


What if I don’t know how much money there is?

If you are not certain about the financial resources of the other party, and you have any suspicion they may be significant, you generally should pursue a contested divorce. There are many mechanisms in a contested process to find property and assess its value. You cannot agree to divide assets if you do not know if they exist.

What is the Process of a Contested Divorce in Virginia?


A complaint is filed.

The first step in the Virginia contested divorce process is to file a complaint. The complaint must state the grounds for divorce. After the complaint is filed with your local court, the complaint must be served upon your spouse.

Your spouse files an answer.

After your spouse is served, they have 21 days to file an answer and admit or deny the allegations in the complaint. The spouse can also file a counterclaim.

Pendente lite relief hearing.

This hearing is held between two and eight weeks after the divorce is filed. In this pendente lite hearing, the judge will make temporary orders regarding custody, child support, and spousal support to establish a status quo while the parties prepare for a full divorce hearing.

Discovery process.

Discovery is the period of time where both parties engage in fact finding and uncover evidence in order to prepare for trial. Common discovery tools used in a divorce proceeding: interrogatories, depositions, subpoenas, and requests for production of documents.


After both parties have completed discovery, a trial date is requested. The trial will usually be held six to eight months after the request is made. With divorce proceedings, both parties have the opportunity to make opening and closing statements and bring forth witnesses to testify on their account.

Divorce order.

The final stage of the Virginia contested divorce process is for the judge to make his decision on the outcome of the case. After the commencement of the trial, the judge will review the evidence and issue a divorce order.

Some matters can actually be resolved in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, and Slovensky Law can help you determine if that should be part of your strategy.

Normally, the judge will also issue an “injunction” which is a court order requiring both parties not to move any property from the marriage. In the meantime, the parties use legal procedures to gather evidence for the final divorce hearing. Generally, the final hearing is held after the parties have been separated for a full year. In that hearing, the judge will determine if a fault ground has been proven, how to divide marital property, the amount of child and/or spousal support, and custody of any minor children.


Who will pay the attorney?

In divorce proceedings, the Court can order one party to pay the other parties’ attorneys fees. The Courts are more inclined to order one party to pay the some or all of the other parties’ attorneys fees where one party makes significantly more money than the other party or where one party is going overboard or acting unfairly in the litigation process.

While Slovensky Law PLLC always requires upfront payments for contested divorces, we will ask for attorneys fees to be paid by the other party in appropriate cases.

We know that going through a divorce is a daunting and emotionally exhausting process. When you first start working with us, we go through a in-depth case analysis and legal counseling session to identify legal strategies for your case and give you the resources to follow-through with the strategies.

We will identify your main priorities, and identify the areas where we can make the biggest difference in your case. Sometimes this means gathering evidence to prove the earning capacity of your spouse, or marshalling evidence to find hidden assets. In appropriate cases, work with experts in the fields of psychiatry, accounting, career and financial planning, or even private investigators to help the judge understand your case.

We can also help you in the ethical gathering of evidence from digital sources, such as cell phones. We have a compassionate support team that will work with throughout the process to get the best outcome for your case.

Slovensky Law is dedicated to protecting your rights and helping you get your life back on track.

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