Often, women go into divorce proceedings overwhelmed by their new responsibilities and unsure of what a woman should ask for in a divorce settlement. The idea of going to trial is enough to worry about, and fear of the unknown can be debilitating.

Women should know that Virginia law makes no distinction between “man” or “woman” in a marriage; it views both spouses as equal partners in a legal agreement and aims to distribute the family’s wealth in as equitable a manner as possible. Therefore, a woman should go into the divorce proceedings with confidence.

Here is some information that can help you as you enter into this process.

What is a Divorce Settlement Agreement?

A divorce settlement agreement goes by many different names — a mediated agreement, property settlement agreement, marital settlement agreement, and separation settlement, among others.

A divorce settlement agreement is a legally binding contract that the two parties can agree upon to process the divorce without going to court. It is an affordable option that has the potential to satisfy both sides.

Here are some standard terms relating to a divorce settlement agreement:

Separate property. A spouse’s separate property is all of the assets they had before the marriage, received as gifts (not from a spouse), or acquired with funds earned after the date of separation, which are generally kept outside of the discussion of the divorce settlement. However, if one spouse helped to increase the value of an asset acquired before marriage, or if this possession somehow interconnects with the family’s well-being, the court may make an exception.

Marital Property. Any assets acquired during the marriage will usually be categorized as marital property. This designation will include obvious things such as a home purchased during marriage and titled under both spouses’ names, but also includes credit card debt, property debt, bank accounts, retirement funds, cars, and many other assets the couple may have accrued.

Equitable distribution status. Like most states, Virginia is an equitable distribution state, meaning that it is always the court’s primary goal to divide marital property, including real estate, in the fairest way for both parties. When going into a divorce, please remember that “equitable” does not always mean” equal” or “fifty-fifty.”

Divorce Settlement Asks

How will parenting time be divided? Regarding child custody, there is no longer a presumption that the Wife receives primary custody. Instead, there are numerous factors that a court must consider in determining custody and a custodial schedule which is always based on what the court considers to be in a child’s best interests. Many different custodial schedules exist — your divorce attorney can advise you on which arrangement is most likely or appropriate in your case.

Spousal support. If one spouse earns significantly less than the other, that spouse is usually entitled to some amount of spousal support. If a woman cannot wait for the settlement of her divorce to begin collecting her spousal support, she may file for pendente lite, and ask that the court order support payments even as the divorce proceedings are ongoing.

Insurance after divorce. Life insurance and other insurance policies are often overlooked among the many negotiations of a divorce. Show your divorce attorney all of your policies so that they can determine which are marital assets. In many situations, the court can require the spouse to continue carrying a life insurance policy to ensure that the family will be cared for in the case of death.


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Our dedicated and passionate team is here and ready to assist you if you are thinking of getting a divorce or are currently going through a divorce. Call 800-516-3964 or contact us here today.