Property settlement agreements, also known as separation agreements, in Fairfax and elsewhere in Virginia can provide a divorcing couple with a pathway to a simplified, no-fault divorce. However, these agreements need to be entered into with care and due diligence. In order to make sure you are entering into a valid and enforceable agreement, take the time to consult with an experienced Fairfax property settlement agreement lawyer before you sign on the dotted line. This is incredibly important to help make sure your rights are fully protected in the transaction.
What Exactly is a Property Settlement Agreement?
Property settlement agreements are fairly common in Virginia involved. A property settlement agreement may resolve dividing property, resolving child support and spousal support, and deciding custody and visitation rights of the parties. The commonality of property settlement agreements is largely due to the fact that Virginia law allows for a shortened separation period (six months instead of one year) in cases where the spouses submit a written property settlement agreement to the court.
How Marital Property is Divided in Virginia
Marital property is divided by equitable distribution in Fairfax and elsewhere in Virginia. This means that, regardless of how property was titled, any property acquired by a couple during the course of the marriage is considered marital property and may be divided according the court’s discretion. Property that is considered separate property is:
- PROPERTY ACQUIRED BY EITHER SPOUSE PRIOR TO MARRIAGE
- PROPERTY ACQUIRED BY EITHER SPOUSE DURING THE MARRIAGE BY GIFT OR INHERITANCE
- PROPERTY ACQUIRED IN EXCHANGE FOR SEPARATE PROPERTY, SO LONG AS THAT PROPERTY IS NOT COMMINGLED WITH MARITAL PROPERTY
- PROPERTY ACQUIRED AFTER THE SPOUSES SEPARATE OR DIVORCE
In Virginia, there is no presumption that the property should be divided evenly. In fact, the judge may divide the marital property in any proportion that they see fit. When determining how marital property should be divided, Virginia courts consider the following factors:
- CONTRIBUTIONS EACH SPOUSE MADE TO THE FAMILY AND TO THE ACQUISITION OF MARITAL PROPERTY (BOTH MONETARY AND NON-MONETARY)
- DURATION OF THE MARRIAGE
- AGE AND PHYSICAL AND MENTAL CONDITION OF EACH SPOUSE
- CIRCUMSTANCES THAT MAY HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THE DISSOLUTION OF THE MARRIAGE, SUCH AS ADULTERY, CRUELTY, DESERTION OR THE CONVICTION OF A FELONY
- DEBTS AND LIABILITIES OF EACH SPOUSE
- LIQUID OR NON-LIQUID CHARACTER OF MARITAL PROPERTY
- THE TAX CONSEQUENCES TO EACH PARTY
- THE FAMILY RESIDENCE
One of the most significant pieces, and primary areas for disagreement, is the family residence. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, both spouses typically have an interest in the home. Courts will often do one of the following when dividing interest in the family residence:
- ORDER THE PROPERTY BE PUT UP FOR SALE AND THEN DISTRIBUTE THE SALE PROCEEDS TO THE PARTIES
- ORDER ONE SPOUSE TO BUY OUT THE OTHER SPOUSE’S EQUITY IN THE HOUSE
What a Fairfax Property Settlement Agreement Lawyer Can Do For You
The skilled and experienced Fairfax separation agreement attorneys with the Dua Law Firm offer a variety of services to help you execute a reasonable, fair, and legally-enforceable property settlement agreement. We will take the time to explain what your rights are so that you are not shortchanged in the agreement. Our legal team will advise you of the all the various provisions that can be included in the agreement. We will also help guide you through the process and provide you with support each step of the way.
Take Action by Contacting the Dua Law Firm Today
The Fairfax divorce lawyers with the Dua Law Firm understand the frustration associated with coming to an agreement about how your property should be divided upon divorce. We work with our clients to achieve the best result possible. Contact our firm today for representation in your divorce proceedings. Contact Travis Van Hook or Raj Dua by calling (703) 382-7300 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.