Take Control of Your Virginia Divorce - Consider a Property Settlement Agreement.
Updated: Sep 8, 2020
In Virginia, many parties settle their divorce through what is called a Property Settlement Agreement or Marital Settlement Agreement (an “Agreement”). By “settle,” we mean that parties do not have to a trial in front of a judge to resolve their issues. We will briefly cover what such an Agreement could include and why parties should consider this approach.
When you negotiate an Agreement, you have much more control over the result than having a judge make the decisions for you. A Judge is bound by the law. You and your spouse are not. That means, you can make decisions that make sense to you and your situation, even if the law wouldn’t support it. Agreements include resolutions to matters such as real estate, retirement, bank accounts, furniture, pets, etc. Additionally, Agreements can also include matters of spousal support, custody and visitation schedules, and child support. Even if you and your spouse can’t come up with a global agreement on all matter, i.e. all matters resolved, it’s still possible to come up with agreements to some things rather than none.
Another benefit of an Agreement is that it's an enforceable written contract. This practically means that if you enter into an Agreement, you cannot go back and change the contents of it unless you and your spouse agree. Once signed, it’s enforceable. Now, there are some exceptions to this rule, especially when it comes to issues dealing with children; however, the general rule is that the Agreement is not going to be changed unless the other person agrees to do so.
Finally, let’s say you’ve already signed an Agreement with your spouse. What’s next? If you have an Agreement and there are no minor children, then you can file an uncontested divorce once you have been separated for six months. If you have minor children, you will need to wait until you have been separated for one year. Regardless, once you have been separated for the appropriate time, the process of filing for your divorce can usually be initiated and finalized without having a court hearing.
If you need assistance in drafting and/or negotiating a Property Settlement Agreement for your divorce matter, the attorneys at Morris Williams LLC - A Family Law Firm will take the time to assist you in determining your specific objectives, so you can be empowered to make the best decisions for your future. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org or (757) 266-9425.