Do I Need a Property Settlement Agreement (PSA)?
In some cases, it may be necessary to reach a property settlement agreement prior to filing for no-fault divorce. This is often required as a condition of filing for no-fault divorce after being separated for only six months. Go here for more information.
Virginia Code § 20-155 (“Marital Agreements”) states:
Married persons may enter into agreements with each other for the purpose of settling the rights and obligations of either or both of them, to the same extent, with the same effect, and subject to the same conditions, as provided in §§ 20-147 through 20-154 for agreements between prospective spouses, except that such marital agreements shall become effective immediately upon their execution.
In other words, spouses may enter into an agreement to divide their property prior to filing for divorce. The agreement (“Property Settlement Agreement”) can address the following topics (Va. Code § 20-150):
1. The rights and obligations of each of the parties in any of the property of either or both of them whenever and wherever acquired or located;
2. The right to buy, sell, use, transfer, exchange, abandon, lease, consume, expend, assign, create a security interest in, mortgage, encumber, dispose of, or otherwise manage and control property;
3. The disposition of property upon separation, marital dissolution, death, or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event;
4. Spousal support;
5. The making of a will, trust, or other arrangement to carry out the provisions of the agreement;
6. The ownership rights in and disposition of the death benefit from a life insurance policy;
7. The choice of law governing the construction of the agreement; and
8. Any other matter, including their personal rights and obligations, not in violation of public policy or a statute imposing a criminal penalty.
Both parties must sign the agreement. Va. Code § 20-149. The agreement is generally not enforceable if either party was coerced into signing the agreement; either party failed to fairly and reasonably disclose their property or financial obligations; or, the terms of the agreement are so one-sided as to be unconscionable. Va. Code § 20-151. Either party can update, or amend, the agreement upon signature of both parties. Va. Code § 20-153.
It is important to note that if the parties reconcile after signing the separation or property settlement agreement, the terms of the agreement are generally void and unenforceable. Va. Code § 20-155.
Our firm can assist you in preparing a settlement agreement as part of the divorce process. We will meet with you to take a detailed inventory of your marital property, review your debts and financial obligations, and discuss spousal support. This is a daunting task – and we can be there by your side to work toward a peaceful resolution.
Schedule a free consultation today to discuss your case.