Separation Prior to Divorce in Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia has specific requirements for divorce, including a period of separation in which a couple is no longer living together as husband and wife. Depending on the nature of the divorce a couple must spend from six to twelve months in separation.
There are two general categories of divorce: at-fault divorce and no-fault divorce. Meeting with an experienced Virginia divorce attorney can help you determine which type of divorce is best for you and how to legally administer a separation in order to satisfy the court.
Requirements of Separation in Virginia
There are a two of ways to meet the requirements of separation: In the traditional model, one spouse moves out of the family home and establishes a physically separate household. Another increasingly common model is known as an “in-house separation,” or “separation under the same roof,” where the divorcing couple stays under the same roof for some or all of the required separation period, but transitions the relationship from marital sharing to a more detached roommate relationship.
Regardless of which option a couple utilizes, they will be required to demonstrate to a court that they have physically and financially separated from one another for the required period of time. “An in-house separation” can be difficult to prove, so before attempting this, a qualified Virginia divorce attorney should be consulted.
Virginia Separation Agreements
A separation agreement (sometimes also called a property settlement agreement) is designed to address the important issues of financial and parental rights between the parties. The separation agreement is usually a binding written contract settling some or all of the issues that may ultimately be before a court in the final divorce case: property, debts, pensions, child support, spousal support, and child custody and child visitation.
Failure to understand the requirements of a separation is a dangerous proposition. It is more dangerous still to negotiate, draft, or sign a separation agreement without the benefit of experienced counsel. Pitfalls could unwittingly prolong the divorce process or place either party at a serious disadvantage regarding financial and parental rights in the final divorce proceeding. Pitfalls could unwittingly prolong the divorce process or place either party at a serious disadvantage regarding financial and parental rights in the final divorce proceeding.
CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED VIRGINIA SEPARATION ATTORNEY
Whether you and your spouse decide to physically separate households or to accomplish the required marital separation requirements while continuing to share a physical household, you will need direction from an experienced advisor.
Our Virginia family law lawyers can provide you with the expert advice necessary to help you avoid costly mistakes and to bring your divorce to an efficient, cost effective, and painlessly conclusion. Contact us today at (571) 328-5020 or request a consultation.