15. What are some of the reasons I need a Separation Agreement?
Some of the reasons a professionally drafted separation agreement is highly advisable include but are not limited to when you or your spouse: have or need to declare bankruptcy, own real estate, have retirement funds or a 401K or other pension (including military retired pay), have a securities or investment portfolio, have debts, are in the military service of the U.S., have minor children, are physically or mentally ill, have not worked during the marriage, own a business, have a dispute over possession or ownership of property, purchased assets or had a child after separation. Problems we often encounter in reviewing separation agreements drafted by non-attorneys and even some lawyers include by way of example: failure to divide the marital home and/or mortgage properly, failure to divide retirement funds or business assets properly, failure to provide for spousal or child support, failure to assure full financial disclosure, failure to address division of debts and bankruptcy, failure to address continuing ownership of joint properties and other future contingencies, improper inclusion of sensitive identifying or financial data, improperly executed or notarized documents, an agreement which constitutes a contract of adhesion or is otherwise vulnerable as being voidable. If you desire or need such an agreement, we will be glad to refer you to an attorney who will assist you in drafting and preparing the same.
16. If my spouse and I would like to enter into an agreement settling issues of child custody, child or spousal support, and/or division of property can we do so at any time?
You can enter into a separation agreement at any time before filing or during the divorce case (before the Final Decree is presented to the Court). In that case the divorce will then be contested and we will need to set up an appointment for a consultation. Our contested divorce consultation fee is $200.00.
17. What does it mean to “incorporate” a separation agreement into a divorce?
A Separation Agreement is a written contract between you and your spouse, and can be enforced in civil court like any written contract. “Incorporating” the agreement into the Final Decree of Divorce gives the contract additional enforcement mechanisms; all the provisions of the agreement become separate orders of court, and can be enforced through the court’s contempt powers.
18. Do I have to incorporate my agreement into the divorce?
This depends upon the language of your agreement. If you have already had an agreement prepared, check it carefully to see if it has to be incorporated into any divorce action or presented to the court. The language of your agreement will control this issue. Many parents may not want their agreements to be incorporated into the Final Decree of Divorce, because Virginia law requires additional personal information be likewise included when issues of child custody, child support or spousal support are included in the final order (personal information such as your and your spouse’s names, addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates, employer’s names, addresses and telephone numbers, and your, your spouse’s and your children’s social security numbers). However, please understand that if the agreement is NOT incorporated in the Final Decree, the Court may not order the payment of support.
19. Does the Court require I present any documents to get divorced?
No. Our experienced staff will tell you precisely what information we need to complete your divorce. We generally ask you provide us with some sort of photographic identification.
20. Do you offer a free initial consultation?
After submitting your information on the SIMPLE FORM found on our website, and making your payment (we accept 50% as advance), you will be asked to come to our office to speak with one of the legal assistants to make sure we have all the information needed for an uncontested divorce. Should you need to discuss your case with an attorney regarding issues of child custody, child or spouse support, and/or division of property, then we will charge a consultation fee of $200 dollars.