Is an attorney necessary when negotiating or drafting a property settlement agreement?
An attorney’s skill and experience is invaluable in negotiating and drafting a fair, just, and reasonable property settlement agreement in the event of a divorce or separation. The attorneys at The Reed Law Firm, P.L.L.C. are experienced family law attorneys, and they can assist you in the negotiation of a fair and reasonable property settlement. Once a settlement is reached, our attorneys can reduce the agreement to a written “property settlement agreement.”
In the event you have been given a proposed property settlement agreement by your spouse, it is imperative that you have the document reviewed by a skilled and knowledgeable family law attorney before signing, in order to protect your legal rights and interests. The Reed Law Firm can review property settlement agreements prepared by other attorneys, and assist in the drafting and revision of these documents to ensure that your legal rights are properly protected.
What is a Property Settlement Agreement?
The name “property settlement agreement” can be deceiving, because, in many instances, property settlement agreements also often resolve child custody and visitation arrangements, support obligations, and many other issues beyond the division of property. These documents are often also referred to as marital settlement agreements (MSA’s) or “PSA’s,” among other names. Regardless of the name, the objective is the same. Property settlement agreements resolve, by agreement, the incidents of marriage that would otherwise be determined by a court.
A property settlement agreement is a written contract between the parties that sets forth their rights, duties and obligations that arise out of their separation and divorce, and may include such things as the division of their property, spousal support, attorney’s fees, child custody, and child support. A carefully crafted property settlement agreement is pivotal to protecting a client’s long-term interests.
Rather than having the court rule upon the issues in a divorce case, parties have the option of reaching a voluntary agreement which resolves the issues involved in their divorce. The court will enforce the agreement once it is in writing, signed, sworn to by both parties, and properly notarized. Such agreements are encouraged, since they may amicably settle the rights of the husband and wife in the estate and property of the other, and save considerable expense.
What are the benefits of property settlement agreements?
In negotiating a property settlement agreement, the laws applicable to equitable distribution are often applied to the property at issue. In negotiating a property settlement agreement, the objective is to negotiate an agreement that resolves the matters involved within a divorce and separation, rather than litigating the issues in court. Though equitable distribution principles often guide the discussions, creative solutions that go beyond what the law alone provides should be encouraged, and will be enforced by courts once agreed to the parties.
In negotiating a property resolution, the parties to a divorce have far more flexibility, and the opportunity to craft unique solutions designed to meet their particular needs, than the law would otherwise allow. For more information on this topic, as well as other family law topics, please see our Family Law Frequently Asked Questions page. For information on uncontested and contested divorce in Virginia, please see our Divorce page.
To schedule a consultation in order to discuss property settlement agreements in Virginia, please feel free to contact us.