Sometimes, a couple may want to make the divorce process easier by creating their own agreement to split their assets 50-50. Most people may think they do not need help from an experienced attorney if both parties agree to this, and they may very well be correct. However, if either of the parties make a mistake in even a small part of the agreement, it may lead to them losing more than they would have been owed otherwise.
Recently, a husband and wife in Virginia created a separation agreement for their divorce. Part of this agreement made the husband immune from liability for any issue during the separation of assets, even if it was an issue he created. The wife was entitled to a portion of his military retirement benefits in the divorce, but the husband intentionally diluted the benefits before she received her share. Even though the wife was entitled to her portion of the benefits, the court honored the contract she made with the husband without legal assistance. The court considered him to be immune for diluting the benefits and, as a result, she did not get any additional assets or money in the divorce to make up for the portion of the benefits that were lost to her. This loss of value ultimately had a direct impact on her post-marriage life.
Although you can create your own divorce agreements, it is important to work with an attorney to ensure the agreement is drafted properly. This is crucial to make sure your interests and assets are protected throughout every stage of the divorce proceedings. A case like the one above is unfortunate, but also avoidable with the proper counsel on your side. The attorneys at Smith Strong, PLC can assist you in any type of divorce agreement and ensure you are protected throughout the entire process. If you would like assistance creating separation agreements in a divorce, please call one of our offices at 804-325-1245 (Richmond) or 757-941-4298 (Williamsburg) to discuss your options.
Special thanks to law clerk Brayden Meadows for his editorial and drafting assistance with this article.