Virginia Property Settlement Agreement Attorneys
Negotiation, Documentation and Enforcement ? Virginia Property Settlement Agreement Lawyers.
A property settlement agreement (PSA) is also known as a marital separation agreement. When a couple is going through a divorce, this is a negotiated instrument that is used to outline how property and debts will be divided and how spousal support, child support and custody are to be resolved. If properly designed and drafted a property settlement agreement (PSA) can provide an effective lasting resolution to your Virginia divorce.
By contrast, a PSA that is drafted without obtaining sound legal advice regarding your rights regarding issues of child custody/visitation, property division, spousal support or other divorce issues can create unnecessary expense, financial hardships, conflict and disappointed expectations. Even when the agreements contained within a PSA are appropriate, the failure to artfully draft a PSA can mean that your intentions are not carried out or that the agreement becomes extremely unfair.
It is important that you do not waive any rights to future support or property that may affect you in a negative way without understanding the repercussions of your decision. For example, a spousal support provision that specifies the amount or duration may not be subject to modification based on subsequent unanticipated events unless the PSA specifically provides that the terms may be modified. This is why it is important to work with an experienced Virginia divorce lawyer so that you understand all of the potential consequences of the terms of your PSA and those terms are memorialized in a way that the agreement reflects your actual agreement.
In Virginia, when a couple enters into a PSA, it becomes part of your divorce judgement. The document can be amended by you and your spouse if the PSA expressly provides that the terms can be modified, and you both consent to the changes. If the agreement does not state in it that it is not subject to any court modification, then it can also be modified by a court order. The court is always allowed to modify the terms of the child custody because the court decides child custody issues based upon what is best for the child. Parents have no ability to contract around the jurisdiction of the court to modify custody, visitation and support orders for their children.
Negotiating and Documentation of a PSA
Negotiating the terms of a property settlement agreement should not be taken lightly and should be drafted with the help of an experienced Virginia divorce attorney. Mistakes made when negotiating or drafting a PSA can have devastating consequences. It is very important to obtain legal advice regarding how a court might resolve certain issues. Our experienced Virginia family law attorney can facilitate reaching an agreement on issues where you and your spouse are in conflict. We will also carefully draft your PSA so that it conforms to legal requirements and represents your actual agreement.
While it is a good idea to get a feel for your spouse?s position on certain issues, you should not seriously negotiate until you have obtained legal advice from an experienced Virginia family law attorney. An experienced Virginia divorce attorney can provide information so that you understand your rights and options. It is generally the case that the way to achieve the best possible outcome in a Virginia divorce is for the parties to a divorce to negotiate a resolution. No judge will ever understand your situation or have as much information about your positions as you and your spouse.
A negotiated partially satisfying resolution is typically better than an agreement imposed on you and your spouse by a judge that may be completely unacceptable to you both.
The negotiation process may come to an impasse, however, because of emotional feelings that are still fresh including anger and pain or because of genuine disagreements on the substantive issues in your divorce. Our family law attorneys frequently assist our clients in resolving these breakdowns in the negotiation process by providing options that you or your spouse may not have considered. Experienced divorce attorneys can also help get past the emotional barriers that can make negotiating the terms of a PSA challenging.
Our Virginia family law attorneys can provide guidance in fleshing out vague ideas, put conceptual ideas into enforceable language and provide constructive advice on how to overcome roadblocks that are interfering with your ability to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. While sometimes litigation is unavoidable because your spouse is being unreasonable, a negotiated agreement will almost always yield a better result for both parties. Even when litigation is inevitable, we will try to bring reason and common sense to an issue to resolve barriers that prevent agreement on important PSA issues.
While there is no requirement that you have an attorney draft your PSA, it is advisable because an experienced Virginia family law attorney will have prepared many PSA and be familiar with common errors or pitfalls. Our family law attorneys know the language that judges expect and desire in understanding the intention of the parties. We can help you avoid ambiguity and loopholes that may undermine your PSA and result in you receiving something other than that for which you bargained.
Even if you and your spouse have negotiated an agreement without attorneys and drafted your own PSA, it is important to have an experienced Virginia divorce lawyer review the agreement prior to signing and submitting the agreement to the court. We can make sure that your PSA does not run afoul of any substantive legal requirements or requirements in terms of form. We will also review your PSA and evaluate whether the language includes unnecessary ambiguity that will cause problems. We can also assist you in ensuring that there are not critical issues that you have forgotten to address.
Enforcement of a PSA
If a spouse misses child support payments or alimony payments or abuses visitation rights, then you can contact our office so that we can assist you with the enforcement of those obligations that were agreed to in your PSA. Failure to meet the obligations of a PSA can result in contempt of court and even jail time. When we communicate the consequences of such actions to the spouse in default, they frequently will make the choice to comply with the terms of your PSA.
If you are involved in a Virginia divorce, the experienced family law attorneys at Pirsch and Associates, PLLC can assist you in the negotiation, drafting and enforcement of a PSA, which will save you time, money and aggravation. Call Pirsch & Associates, PLLC at 703-548-5182 to schedule your free no obligation consultation.
Visit us in person at our Alexandria offices:
Pirsch & Associates, PLLC
1307 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Our divorce and family law attorneys serve the needs of divorce clients throughout Northern Virginia. Our law firm takes all major credit cards and may be able to offer a flat fee arrangement in certain situations.