When divorce becomes inevitable, the easiest, the least expensive, and generally the fastest way of getting a divorce in Virginia is to enter into a Post-nuptial Agreement which resolves all issues incident to the marriage which need to be resolved in order for a Final Decree of Divorce to be entered. It is simply a written contract executed by the parties. It is sometimes called a Separation and Property Settlement Agreement.
If you are successful in negotiating and executing the Agreement, you can then be divorced after a one year separation if you have minor children, or a six month separation if you do not have minor children. This is considered to be a no-fault divorce in Virginia.
The Agreement should be prepared by a Virginia divorce lawyer in order to insure that everything is addressed that needs to be addressed, and that provisions are included in the Agreement which provide protections to one or both parties. A lawyer cannot represent both parties in a divorce. There is an inherent conflict of interest.
A spouse can voluntarily choose to be unrepresented in a simple divorce and the represented party can include a provision in the Agreement that the unrepresented spouse will reimburse the represented spouse for a portion of attorney’s fees, but this does not change the fact that the lawyer only represents one party. Most lawyers refrain from communicating directly with an unrepresented party unless they are forced to negotiate with the party who is unrepresented, i.e. who is proceeding pro se. If communications are necessary between an attorney and an unrepresented party, it is prudent for those communications to be in writing.