Separation agreements are limited in scope in several respects, which the parties to separation or divorce should understand: Virginia`s statutes now provide for the „fair“ distribution of marital property and marital debts between the parties at the end of the divorce. „marital property“ consists of all property titled in common and any other property taken, with a property other than a separate property acquired by one or both parties from the date of marriage until the final separation. „separate property,“ property owned by a party before marriage, property acquired after the separation of the parties, or property and/or gifts inherited from a third party. When „marital property“ and „separate ownership“ are mixed or if the value of the „separate property“ is increased by the active efforts of one of the parties during the marriage, that property may be considered „marital property“ or „separate property.“ As a general rule, the debt is considered a „marital debt“ when it is in the common name of the parties and is born before the date of the last separation of the parties or, for debts that are in the name of a party only if the debt was born after the date of marriage and before the date of the last separation of the parties. On the other hand, „dissociated debts“ are debts that were incurred only in the name of a party before the marriage or after the date of the final separation of the parties. In determining whether a debt is marital or separate, the court may also consider the cause of the existence of a debt. When a spouse moves and declares the intention that the separation will be permanent, this act counts as a date of separation (as long as the spouse does not threaten to divorce routinely to shake things up). It is important to note that only a spouse must intend the separation to be permanent. You don`t need an agreement to be separated. In the end, there is a narrow line between desertion and separation according to virginia law.
The safest procedure is to formalize the terms of your separation with a „separation agreement.“ Separation agreements are contracts that can govern all the rights, interests and obligations of the parties to separation or divorce.