Friday, December 6, 2013

Property Separation Agreements: Avoiding the Messy Divorce

Divorces are difficult and often messy. Having a separation agreement drawn up prior to divorce proceedings can make an emotional and tense process much more smooth.

In Virginia, there is no such thing as a “legal separation.” Instead, you can hire an attorney to draft what is essentially an agreement or contract between the two parties, specifying the terms of the separation and division of property and other assets. This most often includes bank accounts, retirement funds, military pensions and benefits, vehicles, houses, and even joint debts.

 Where there are children, the parties can work out the terms of custody and visitation, as well as child support, medical insurance, life insurance policies, and retirement benefits. As one might guess, this is usually done in anticipation of future divorce.

For a no-fault divorce in Virginia, there is a statutory separation period of one year before a person can file with the courts. However, if the husband and wife have a separation agreement and there are no minor children (ie. Under the age of 18), they can file after only a 6-month separation period. If there are minor children, the separation period of one year is required, but a separation agreement between the parties becomes a contract, and can be incorporated into the final divorce decree, leaving fewer issues to have to argue about. If necessary, one party can take the other to court for breach of that separation agreement.
Separation agreements can sort out most of the details of a divorce beforehand, and can help create a more amicable, and cheaper divorce process.

If you have questions or would like assistance in setting up a separation agreement between you and your spouse, please give Hadley Law, PLC a call at (757) 498-1800, or email our office at One of our attorneys would be happy to consult with you regarding your case.

About the Author: Sarah V.L. Castleberry is an attorney at Hadley Law, PLC in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She is barred in New York and Virginia.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Child Relocation

The Hampton Roads is a very transient area, especially with of the high military presence in the area. This naturally leads to having to relocate families and children.  This is not so easily done, however, in situations of split families where one parent is remaining in the Commonwealth.

Pursuant to Va Code § 20-124.5, every child custody order in the Commonwealth of Virginia must include a notice that each party is to give the other party 30 days notice of any relocation.  One of the intents behind this notice is to allow the non-relocating party time to file with the court to bar the relocation of the minor child who is subject to the order.

If, for example, a custodial mother wants to relocate the child out of the state and away from the non-custodial father, she has a burden of proving that the move would be in the best interests of the child.  There is also a further burden of proving that the relationship and visitation with the father would not be hindered by the move.  This is a difficult burden to overcome, especially in cases with a non-custodial parent who is extremely active in the child’s life.

At Hadley Law, PLC, we are experienced with child relocation cases.  Call (757) 498-1800 to set up an appointment to discuss the particulars of your case and what needs to be done to fight it through the courts.