Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Property Settlement Agreements - A Cost Effective Approach

One very useful and economical approach to resolving divorce issues is to negotiate a Property Settlement Agreement (sometimes also called Property and Support Settlement Agreement or Property, Support, and Child Custody Settlement Agreement). The validity and scope of such agreements are governed by the laws of the specific state that has jurisdiction over the particular divorce case at issue. Accordingly, it is important to seek full, independent counsel from a lawyer licensed to practice in that particular state prior to making any decisions or taking any actions with regard to your particular divorce matter.

Generally speaking, in a state like Virginia, property settlement agreements are valid and binding upon the parties and the Court. The settlement agreement can and preferably should address all issues to be resolved in the divorce case, including division of property (assets and liabilities), spousal support, child support, insurance coverage, custody and visitation provisions, grounds for divorce, tax issues, future modification proceedings (for example, regarding custody, visitation, and support), and expenses (such as court costs and attorney's fees).

By negotiating these terms (with the assistance of your respective attorneys and/or through mediation) and incorporating those terms into a properly drafted settlement agreement, the emotional and financial costs of divorce can be significantly reduced. Additionally, the likelihood of subsequent litigation tends to be lessened. It also gives the parties a sense of certainty in the outcome versus the sense of uncertainty and lack of control that many parties experience during contested litigation in court.

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