Q: Do both parties have to sign a seperation agreement before the seperation begins?
Spouses can enter into enforceable separation agreements in Virginia. The agreement must be in writing and signed by both spouses, or recited in front of a court reporter. A separation agreement is not a requirement for a divorce in Virginia, although it allows a no fault divorce based on a six month separation and no minor children born or adopted of the parties to be granted.
A no fault divorce in Virginia is based on a separation of the parties and the intention of at least one of the parties that the separation be permanent. That intention must exist continually for the duration of the separation, such that there is no probablility of reconciliation.
If the parties are relying on the existence of a valid separation agreement for a 6 months no fault divorce, it must be signed by both parties prior to the filing of the divorce. There is no requirement that the agreement exist contemporaneously for the duration of the separation.
Anyone facing separation or divorce in Virginia should consult with an experienced Virginia divorce lawyer.
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