A Separation Agreement is a critical step in the divorce process, particularly in Virginia, where there is a six-month to one-year “cooling off period” before the courts will allow divorce. That means, in other words, that Virginia requires 6 months to one year of separation before divorce.
A separation agreement is primarily used to prevent a contested divorce. In the agreement, the parties record vital areas of agreement on issues like custody, spousal support, child support, property division, debt division, tax exemptions, and more.
What’s more, oral separation agreements are not binding. They must be in writing.
A properly drafted Separation Agreement is legally binding in the divorce. The judge will incorporate the agreement into the divorce decree. This means big savings in time and legal costs in the eventual divorce.
To discuss a separation agreement, call us today at 757-812-5845.
Why you should avoid a contested divorce:
If you feel like you’ve been wronged by your spouse, it’s easy to think a contested divorce is in your best interests. If so, you’re wrong:
Costs: Contested divorces cost an average of $30,000 for each party. Uncontested divorces usually cost $1,000 or less, total.
Harm to the Children: The contested divorce process wreaks havoc on everyone in the family, especially children. If you’ve got kids, work out the details in a separation agreement.
Punishment backfire: Frequently a motive in contested divorces is a desire to “punish” the other party. I have seen hundreds of divorces, and it never works that way. Divorce is the only kind of law practice where nobody wins.
No vindication: If your spouse cheated on you or abused you, it’s normal to want vindication in court — to have the judge look at the other party in the eye and tell them that they were wrong, and to tell you that you are in the right. I hate to burst this bubble, but it doesn’t happen. It’s not the judge’s job to place blame, and they won’t do it. You won’t get that kind of satisfaction in court.