Virginia Separation Agreement
Under Virginia law, if the husband and wife have signed a separation agreement, the terms are binding on the court. There are however exceptions, for example if the Virginia separation agreement is unconscionable or entered into under duress or diminished capacity, the separation agreement may not be binding Under Virginia law. Additionally, the child custody terms may not bind the court, since the court decides child custody based on the best interests of the child and not necessarily the parents’ wishes. A poorly drafted Virginia separation agreement is sometimes worse than not having an agreement at all! Therefore it is strongly recommended to have a Virginia separation agreement that is drafted by a Virginia lawyer.
A Virginia separation agreement will contain, at an absolute minimum, terms addressing the following matters:
- Distribution of Property: This section of the Virginia separation agreement addresses basic issues, for example who gets the house; who pays the mortgage; who keeps which car; how to handle insurance payments for property; what happens to the bank, retirement, and investment accounts. Before you enter into a Virginia property settlement or separation agreement, you need to be aware of the provisions provided under the law. Know your Virginia rights before contracting them away!
- Child support: In Virginia, child support is awarded pursuant to the Virginia child support guidelines as well as other important considerations. Be aware of the law before entering into a Virginia separation agreement. Remember, under Virginia law, the parents cannot waive the child’s right to be supported by his/her parents.
- Child custody: Should you agree to joint custody, sole custody, or shared custody? How do you address both physical and legal custody? What will be the visitation schedule? How does it compare to what a court would award if the case is litigated? Will the Virginia separation agreement be binding on the court?
- Alimony or spousal support: The terms of a Virginia separation agreement are generally binding on the court. The duration and the amount of spousal support agreed to as part of a Virginia separation agreement has a significant impact on your legal rights.
The Court may incorporate a property settlement agreement between the parties to its Final Decree of Divorce
§ 20-109.1. Affirmation, ratification and incorporation by reference in decree of agreement between parties.
Any court may affirm, ratify and incorporate by reference in its decree dissolving a marriage or decree of divorce whether from the bond of matrimony or from bed and board, or by a separate decree prior to or subsequent to such decree, or in a decree entered in a suit for annulment or separate maintenance, and in a proceeding arising under subsection A 3 or L of § 16.1-241, any valid agreement between the parties, or provisions thereof, concerning the conditions of the maintenance of the parties, or either of them and the care, custody and maintenance of their minor children, or establishing or imposing any other condition or consideration, monetary or nonmonetary. Provisions in such agreements for the modification of child support shall be valid and enforceable. Unless otherwise provided for in such agreement or decree incorporating such agreement, such future modifications shall not require a subsequent court decree. This section shall be subject to the provisions of § 20-108. Where the court affirms, ratifies and incorporates by reference in its decree such agreement or provision thereof, it shall be deemed for all purposes to be a term of the decree, and enforceable in the same manner as any provision of such decree. The provisions of this section shall apply to any decree hereinbefore or hereinafter entered affirming, ratifying and incorporating an agreement as provided herein. Upon the death or remarriage of the spouse receiving support, spousal support shall terminate unless otherwise provided by stipulation or contract. In any case where jurisdiction is obtained over a nonresident defendant by order of publication or by acceptance of service pursuant to § 20-99.1:1, any properly acknowledged and otherwise valid agreement entered into between the parties may be affirmed, ratified and incorporated as provided in this section.
These are only some of the terms of a Virginia separation agreement. Fault grounds, estate rights, forum selection, alternative dispute resolution and many other terms can be included in a Virginia separation agreement. Our Virginia lawyers can provide you with Virginia divorce advice.
Virginia (VA) criminal defense, divorce, child custody, reckless driving, dui and federal court attorneyrepresenting clients throughout Virginia. Some of the jurisdictions served include:Henrico County VA, Richmond City, Chesterfield County VA, Hanover County VA, Petersburg County VA, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Hopewell, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Quantico, Virginia Beach VA, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania VA, Hampton Roads, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa, Manassas VA, Woodbridge, Charles City, James City, Gloucester, Tidewater, Portsmouth, Shenandoah, Prince George, Sussex, New Kent, West End of Richmond, Glen Allen, Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond, Alexandria, Norfolk, and Newport News Divisions).