Religious vs Civil Divorce Question

Religious vs Civil Divorce QuestionCategory: RelationshipsReligious vs Civil Divorce Question
Angelica Murphy asked 3 years ago

Assalamualaikum,

I am a recent convert to Islam. I have been married for 5 years to an atheist. We do not have any children. There is no chance that he will be willing to convert to Islam. We signed legal separation papers on June 5th, but the state of Virginia requires you to be separated for 6 months before you can file for a civil divorce. I took my Shahada on July 14th.

I am wondering when would my iddah begin? Will I be divorced religiously before I am divorced civilly? Do I need to do anything in order for my divorce to be valid?