The dissolution of a marriage can be a long and arduous process involving property rights, financial matters, and child custody. Divorce in Virginia can be simplified if both parties agree to settle their legal issues by using a Property Settlement Agreement or PSA.Virginia Divorce Laws: Property Division
Virginia statutes provide for the equitable distribution of any marital property between the parties at the conclusion of the divorce. “Marital property” consists of all jointly-titled property as well as all other property, other than separate property, acquired by either or both of the parties from the date of the marriage through the time of the final separation. “Separate property” is property owned by one party prior to the marriage, property acquired after the parties have separated, inherited property and/or gifts to one party from a third person.
In addition to property distribution, a court can decide whether or not to award spousal support or alimony from one spouse to the other. Under recent changes in the Virginia law, the fault of a spouse in causing a divorce may no longer be a complete bar to obtaining spousal support. How can you avoid an unfavorable result? Rather than having the court rule upon the issues discussed, the parties can sign a voluntary agreement that addresses and resolves all property and financial matters between. So what is this agreement?
What are PSAs?
A Property Settlement Agreement (PSA) is a written contract between the parties that sets forth their rights, responsibilities and obligations that arise out of their separation and divorce. PSAs don’t have to cover all issues that arise in a divorce proceeding, but they typically include provisions that concern: spousal support, property division, division of debts, health insurance, disposition of the marital home, pension plans, tax issues, future dispute resolution methods and child custody and visitation. The more comprehensive the PSA, the fewer issues left to be resolved by the Court, which will save you time and money.
PSA is not a Final Decree of Divorce
A PSA is NOT a substitute for a legal divorce, and the execution of a PSA does not end the marriage. However, they are the most efficient way to settle issues, and can help parties to avoid investing large amounts of time and money into a contested divorce. A PSA affords the parties greater control over the outcome of the divorce, rather than leaving all decisions to a judge. Further, a PSA can encompass issues that are not typically considered by courts, such as college tuition.
With a PSA, once the parties have separated and lived apart for the appropriate time (six or twelve months depending on whether there are minor children), either party may seek entry of the final divorce decree upon proof of separation and residency.
If you’re looking for an experienced Virginia family law attorney or divorce lawyer, contact Keithley Law, PLLC, PLLC today by calling (703) 454-5147 and schedule an initial consultation in our Fairfax law office.
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