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Costs, clarity, and control are three very important reasons to get a legally binding separation agreement. 

Separating is a big and hazardous step.  Don't assume you have an agreement. Get one in writing. 

 

"I thought we had an agreement until after I moved out. That's when everything changed." This is all too common a response from clients in the middle of a contested, expensive divorce. Emotions, lack of clarity in agreement, change of circumstances, resentment, all make having an oral agreement a bad decision. 


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Costs:  A properly completed and legally-binding separation agreement insures that your divorce will remain uncontested because neither party can change their minds once executed.  Emotions and resentments run high even after you have separated.  The roller coaster of anger, fear, and concern can often result in parties constantly changing their mind, holding the other person hostage by not agreeing or constantly changing, and keep you in limbo and unable to start moving forward with your new life.
Clarity:  Assuming you and your spouse agree on something is a mistake.  Time, emotion, and often greed can make your spouse want more than agreed after they have given the subject a little though.  Agreeing to "split the furniture 50/50" or "split the debt" is not specific enough.
Control:  Knowing that when you walk out the door what will and won't happen is priceless.  Knowing there will not be a fight allows you to focus on the important things like your children and your future.  Knowing what will happen with your children, your support, and your property instead of leaving it up to an anonymous divorce judge who has little concern for your life is comforting.

Get it in writing!

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ON WHAT TO PUT IN YOUR SEPARATION AGREEMENT.

don't make the mistake of thinking you have an agreement!

Q. Your spouse keeps changing their mind. What can you do?

A. The biggest frustration expressed by clients is they can't nail down their spouse to given them an answer.  Sometimes it helps to start the negotiation by giving them your terms to consider. If they are indecisive or don't think you are serious, presenting them with a separation agreement will start to get the ball rolling. 

Whether you agree to separate and divorce or you just have made your own personal decision you need the space, leaving the marital residence can be a hazardous decision that can penalize you in your divorce if it is not done right.  A charge of "abandonment" by your spouse can turn an uncontested, inexpensive divorce into a financial and legal nightmare.  Consulting an attorney and understanding the steps involved to insure you are proceeding properly and addressing all the issues prior to leaving the marital household is essential. 


Generally, four areas need to be addressed and are better addressed in a separation agreement prior to leaving your spouse. These areas are:

  • how to separate property;
  • how to separate debt;
  • future financial responsibilities of each party;
  • custody of minor children;
  • child support and spousal support;
  • outlining the divorce plan.


You can address all these issues in a legally-binding separation agreement and get an attorney's help her on our website. Start today and enjoy a stress-free tomorrow!

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Q. I want to separate but I am afraid my spouse will claim I abandoned them in the divorce.

​A. Yes, separating before an agreement is a risk and can be an expensive mistake.  If you think an agreement is possible consulting an attorney through our online services may help clarify your options and help build an agreement you both can feel comfortable with. 

ORAL AGREEMENTS ALONE ARE NOT LEGALLY BINDING!

How To Separate In Virginia

Not sure if your spouse will sign a separation agreement?

Take our free uncontested divorce evaluation online.  Find out if it is possible to keep costs and tempers down by going through an uncontested divorce which starts with a Virginia separation agreement. .

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Q. We signed an agreement I copied from the internet but the court says it is not valid.

​A. Common mistake.  Separation agreements are legally-binding contracts. More divorces have been messed up by generic online forms claiming be "separation agreements" but not designed to fully ensure your rights. Putting "Separation Agreement" on the title of a form does not make it valid. 

Why get a separation agreement? 

Separation Q & A: (con't)