Virginia Beach Attorneys for Separation Agreements
Unlike many other states, Virginia doesn’t officially recognize legal separations. Whether you and your spouse have agreed to a trial separation or plan to permanently separate without getting a divorce, it is strongly recommended that you enter into a separation agreement with your spouse. A separation agreement is a legally binding document that addresses the terms of your separation, including property division, child custody, child support, spousal support, and other issues.
Couples can easily file for an uncontested divorce at a later date if they have already prepared a separation agreement. Once the couple has lived separately for at least six months (if they have no minor children) or twelve months (if they do share minor children), they can seek a no-fault divorce.
If you are separating from or divorcing your spouse in Virginia Beach, contact an experienced Virginia divorce attorney from Pincus Goodman, P.C., to get professional help drafting your separation agreement. Our Virginia Beach legal team can offer you crucial legal advice, ensure that your parenting and property rights are protected, and help you resolve any potential disagreements that arise when creating the separation agreement. Call us today at (757) 301-9634.
Elements of a Separation Agreement
At a minimum, your separation agreement should address all the following issues. Our lawyers can help you establish a separation agreement that suits your personal needs and goals.
- Separation start date
- Asset and property division
- Alimony (spousal support)
- Child custody and visitation schedules
- Child support
- Debt division
- Retirement accounts, such as IRAs, 401(k)s, and other pension plans
- Health insurance
- Life insurance
- Tax consequences
- How the marital home will be dealt with
- Provisions in case of future conflict
If you and your spouse are planning to separate on a trial or permanent basis, we advise creating a thorough separation agreement before the separation begins. If you move out of the home without drafting a separation agreement, your spouse could later argue that you deserted the family. The separation agreement will serve as proof that you and your spouse both agreed to the terms of the separation before one of you moved out of the family home.
Do I Need an Attorney?
While it is possible to create a separation agreement without the help of a legal professional, it is generally a good idea to consult with an attorney before finalizing your agreement. Your attorney will be looking out for your interests and will help you avoid costly mistakes that could harm you down the road.
While it is normal to be concerned about expenses while you’re divorcing, given the court fees and other costs associated with separating from your spouse, hiring a lawyer to help you understand what you are entitled to and to fight for your rights could end up saving you money and stress in the long run.
If the wording of your separation agreement is vague or faulty, or if custody arrangements, visitation schedules, and other terms are not properly outlined, you could end up having to spend even more money attempting to modify the agreement, and there’s always a chance you won’t be able to accomplish that. To minimize the risk of ambiguities and the need for modifications, we recommend getting an attorney involved in the drafting process from the start.
Contact a Virginia Beach Divorce Attorney
If you are planning to separate from or divorce your spouse, then one of your first priorities should be putting together a valid separation agreement. Given the fact that your separation agreement will outline your rights and responsibilities after your marriage ends, you should consider hiring an attorney to ensure that your rights are thoroughly protected. Contact the Virginia Beach divorce attorneys of Pincus Goodman, P.C., today for a consultation to discuss your goals. You can reach us by phone at (757) 301-9634.