Fairfax Separation Agreements Lawyer

Unlike many other states, Virginia does not recognize legal separation. When a couple chooses to live separately, they may do so without court recognition. However, a separation agreement delineating the couple’s financial and child custody arrangements protects both spouses and their children.

Negotiating a separation agreement is valuable whether you plan to divorce, hope to reconcile, or intend to remain married but separated indefinitely. Whatever your specific situation, it is wise to consult a marital agreements lawyer as soon as possible. A Fairfax separation agreements lawyer could help you negotiate an agreement that will govern how you live apart, whether for the statutory pre-divorce period or while you and your spouse try to work out your differences.

What it Means to “Live Separately” in Fairfax

Sometimes it is clear that a couple is living separately, establishing separate residences, and disentangling their personal and financial lives. In other cases, a couple opts to remain in the home but lives there separately. Virginia law sees this as a separation, too, provided:

  • At least one spouse intends to terminate the marriage
  • The couple does not have sexual relations
  • Neither spouse holds themselves out as part of a married couple

Couples who continue to share a home while separated should take steps to keep their lives as separate as possible. An experienced local attorney could advise someone about the proof they will need to establish they were separated while sharing a home with their spouse.

Separation Agreement Basics

A separation agreement could guide parties’ conduct while they are separated. If they later divorce, the separation agreement could be the template for a divorce settlement. This can help expedite and ease the process.

Separation agreements address many of the same issues a divorce decree would cover. A couple could decide how to divide their marital property and incorporate their decision into the separation agreement. If a couple has children living at home, an agreement could establish where their children live and how much time they will have with the non-custodial parent. A separation agreement also should cover child support and spousal support.

Couples should seek the advice of a Fairfax attorney when negotiating a separation agreement. A legal professional could guide a couple and draft an agreement that accomplishes their goals and is enforceable in court.

Important Things to Know About Separation Agreements

A separation agreement is a legally binding contract, and one spouse could go to court to enforce it against the other spouse. There are also statutory separation periods associated with these agreements—six months if a couple has no minor children and one year if they do. At the end of this period, one spouse could file for an uncontested divorce on the no-fault grounds of separation. Achieving a divorce this way is far less stressful, expensive, and time-consuming than going through a contested divorce.

However, separated couples should remember that they are still legally married. If a separated spouse enters into another sexual relationship before divorcing, they could face adultery accusations, which could impact spousal support. A Fairfax separation agreements attorney could explain the potential implications of starting another relationship while still legally married.

Contact a Fairfax Separation Agreements Attorney to Learn More

Although the law does not require a separated couple to have an agreement, a separation agreement offers proof of their intent to end their marriage. It could make an eventual divorce much simpler.

A Fairfax separation agreements lawyer could explain how an agreement might be beneficial in your situation. Call today to schedule a consultation.