Virginia Separation Agreements
A separation agreement in Virginia, also called a property settlement agreement, contains the agreement between the parties concerning custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, equitable distribution (division of the property and debts), payment of attorney’s fees, date of separation, and
Who is involved in a separation agreement?The parties (spouses) sign the separation agreement. A separation agreement typically affects third parties, like creditors, but third parties are not bound by the agreement. For example, the parties have a joint credit card with a $5,000 balance. The parties failed to pay the credit card and it is in collections. The agreement states the husband will pay off the credit card balance within ninety days. The agreement does not alter or stop the ability of the credit card company, or collections agency, from suing or collecting the balance from the wife. But an agreement that is properly drafted gives the wife a remedy in the event the husband does not pay as promised.
When should someone enter a separation agreement?The parties may sign a separation agreement any time after they separate. Separation in Virginia means that at least one spouse has formed the intent to remain separate and apart permanently and the parties have lived separate and apart, continuously, without interruption and without cohabitation. Living separately does not necessarily mean the spouses are living in separate residences.
Sometimes, parties are considering reconciling with their spouse, but want to be protected if they reconcile and subsequently separate. A separation agreement can be used to allow the parties to reconcile while providing protection if the reconciliation fails. If you fall into this category, speak with an experienced Family Law Attorney, who can draft an agreement to properly protect you.
Where do the parties sign the agreement?You and your spouse do not have to sign an agreement at the same time or at the same place. Be sure to sign it in front of a notary public.
Why should we get a separation agreement?Save time and money: A separation agreement usually saves the parties substantial time and money. The parties and attorneys spend substantial time and money to prepare a case for a divorce trial. With a separation agreement, there is no need for a contested divorce trial.
Maintain control: An agreement also allows the parties maintain control over the issues in their separation and divorce because a judge does not decide the outcome, the parties do.
More satisfaction: Spouses that reach a separation agreement are typically more satisfied with the result than a court determining the outcome.
How do we get a separation agreement?Because a separation agreement is a contract, an attorney should draft it. You would not let your spouse write the contract to purchase a home, so why would you or your spouse write a contract that deals with how to divide all your assets, debts, money, business and, most importantly, time with your children?