After deciding to separate, many couples begin working on an agreement between themselves to resolve shared issues, such as property, debt, custody and visitation. These couples hope to save themselves emotional and financial distress by keeping the situation amicable. Believing the way to achieve this goal is to avoid attorneys, these husbands and wives look for template “separation agreements” or “settlement agreements” online, then begin tying up their loose ends in preparation for divorce.

While these couples have good intentions, they expose themselves to several serious problems that could cause mental anguish, economic traps, and legal trouble down the road.

First, laws having to do with Marital Settlement Agreements (often called “separation agreements” or “property settlement agreements”) are state specific. So, the forms found online are rarely thorough enough to completely protect you in a Virginia courtroom. Second, without legal counsel, you run the risk of agreeing to terms that are much less favorable than what you would be entitled to under Virginia law.

Next, you need your agreement to be reliable while you continue to consider divorce and/or wait out the statutory separation period. Without an experienced attorney, the terms of your agreement are likely to be ambiguous, broad or simply unclear, so when your amicable relationship deteriorates, the agreement is very difficult to enforce in court.

Finally, your agreement should cover hypothetical scenarios, such as what should happen to the agreement if you and your spouse reconcile or if one part of the agreement is violated. An experienced attorney will guarantee this essential language is included and is in concert with Virginia law.
The Law Offices of Tenecia P. Reid can help you to avoid these problems and ensure that you are protected in the short and long-term. Whether you are looking for a draft of a new agreement or need an expert review of an existing one, Attorney Reid will apply her legal knowledge, years of experience and critical eye to equip you to make educated decisions in this process.