Virginia Property Settlement Agreements

Posted on Jan 31, 2010 by Hofheimer Family Law

A separation agreement, or property settlement agreement, is a legal contract between a husband and right that formally settles the rights and responsibilities of each party after divorce. When you enter into a separation agreement, you handle your divorce out of court and don’t incur the additional expense of having to argue over every issue and, ultimately, let the judge decide who gets what.

For couples who are separating under amicable conditions, a property settlement agreement is probably ideal. To have a valid agreement, both of you must agree to all of the terms listed in the agreement. That doesn’t mean, of course, that you have to accept a first draft; there is often a lot of back and forth before both parties are happy with the agreement. Separation agreements work best if both parties are open to communication and compromise.

Property settlement agreements can cover just about everything, including:

  • Property division
  • Spousal Support
  • Child custody, visitation, and child support
  • Medical Insurance
  • Personal property (furniture and belongings)
  • Pensions, retirement, and/or 401K plans
  • Credit card debt
  • Other issues involving martial property, assets, or liabilities

Once you sign your agreement, there is no going back. A separation agreement is a legal, binding contract between you and your husband, even if it is written on a beverage napkin. Be incredibly careful about what you sign, whether it was written by one of you, by a mediator, or by an attorney—these agreements can all be held to be equally valid by the court. Make sure you understand what the agreement says and what it requires you to do.

Separation Agreements are a quick, cost-effective way to get a divorce in Virginia, but it’s a good idea to have an idea of what you want your agreement to say before you start to negotiate.

For more information about the basic elements of a Virginia divorce, visit our library.