Divorce suits are handled in the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office Civil Division. The Information provided is for procedural purposes only.  It is not intended as legal advice and should not be used as such.  It is recommended to seek the advice of an attorney. 

Getting Started

 The Virginia State Bar publishes two pamphlets that can help you familiarize yourself with divorce in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Visit the Divorce in Virginia website and the Children and Divorce Virginia State Bar website to learn more of the information that’s important to know.


  • Reference VA Code § 20-89 through 20-124 for information on how to obtain a divorce in Virginia.
  • 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.
  • For a "no fault" or uncontested 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. If any child or children of the marriage is under the age of 18, both the husband and the wife must complete the Families in Transition (FITS) Program. 
  • In Virginia, you do not file a separation agreement with the court, unless you wish the court to approve it as part of the divorce proceeding.

Hiring a Lawyer

 A person wanting to get divorced is not required to obtain the services of a lawyer, but lawyers commonly are employed. When deciding whether to hire a lawyer, remember that staff in the Clerk’s Office cannot provide legal advice. Each person involved in a divorce suit should obtain independent legal advice. If you choose to represent yourself, you will be expected to follow the same procedures as an attorney. If you are unable to hire a lawyer, visit the Virginia State Bar’s Resource website for the Public. This has information about finding a lawyer. Help may also be found through the Virginia Lawyer Referral Service 800-552-7977 (Statewide), 804-775-0808 (Richmond), Voice/Telecommunications Device for the Deaf 804-775-0502.


"Pro se" means that a party to a lawsuit is representing himself or herself. All persons involved in divorce cases are strongly encouraged to consult with an attorney so that the legal proceedings and the effect of legal documents and orders can be fully explained to you. Furthermore, at trial the same rules will apply as if you had an attorney, and the Judge is not permitted to help you in presenting your case.

  • If you choose to represent yourself, you will be expected to follow the same procedures as an attorney.
  • For information regarding filing for a divorce and help in preparing the necessary forms, visit valegalaid.org/divorce.  NOTE: our staff cannot assist you with navigating this website nor are they able to give you legal advice.

Divorce Actions

 A divorce suit is started by filing with the clerk’s office in person or by mail pleadings (commonly a Complaint) prepared in accordance with the Code of Virginia. View the Rules of the Virginia Supreme Court together with filing and service fees that can be determined by using Virginia’s Judicial System Circuit Court Filing Fee Calculator or by calling the Circuit Court Clerk’s office. The clerk’s office does not have court approved divorce forms.

Where to File

 Divorce complaints sent by mail should be addressed to:

  • King William County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office
    351 Courthouse Lane, Suite 130
    King William, VA 23086


King William Circuit Court is not a forms court.  The initial Divorce Complaint must be drafted.


The following fees are associated with filing a divorce case:

  • A filing fee of $82 is required to open your case.
  • A $12 service fee if the complainant wishes to have a defendant that resides in Virginia served by the Sheriff. If the defendant does not reside in the State of Virginia, or if the complainant does not wish to have the document served by a sheriff, the complainant must make arrangements to have the documents served on the defendant. This may be accomplished by using a private process server; or if the defendant is willing to accept service, having the subpoena issued to the complainant so that the complainant may arrange for the defendant to accept service before a notary public or execute a waiver of notice. For more information about out of state service, please visit the Secretary of the Commonwealth- Service of Process.
  • If the wife wishes to resume her maiden name, a separate name change order must be submitted, and there will be an additional recording fee payable when the final decree of divorce is entered. This fee is $26 for up to ten pages. The $26 fee must be a separate check or money order, made payable to "Clerk of Circuit Court" and paid to the Recording Division after the order is signed.
  • The court can make copies of your documents for an additional $0.50 per page.

All fees are payable to the Clerk of the Circuit Court by cash, check or money order. Do not include filing fees in the same check as your recording fee for the Name Change Order.

Obtaining Copies of Orders and Pleadings

 The clerk’s office sends copies of final decrees of divorce to the attorneys representing both parties. If a party is not represented by an attorney, the final decree will be sent to him or her. You may request additional copies of orders or non-confidential pleadings at $0.50 per page by appearing in person or writing to:

  • King William County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office
    351 Courthouse Lane, Suite 130
    King William, VA 23086