Dunnington Mansion is what real estate agents would call “charming.” The abandoned mansion, in Farmville, Virginia, is still beloved enough to have its own foundation (the charitable kind; we assume it already has the stone kind). But it does need a bit of work. It requires the kind of sweat equity you would also put into your own DIY quick separation agreement.

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Separation & Sweat Equity

If you have ever snatched up a piece of furniture abandoned at the curbside, you know what sweat equity is. The raw material may have been free, but then you had to spend time and money restoring your trash-treasure.

The same is true of a DIY property settlement agreement. You may be able to do it for cheap, but the DIY aspect sucks up hours and hours of your time.

Even assuming you and your exiting spouse can agree on the topics of the separation agreement (and that is a huge assumption!), you will spend a lot of time struggling with the wording. You will fill out forms. You will lose sleep wondering what you have omitted.

Do You Really Trust It?

Marriage entails trust, and during separation and divorce that already weakened trust can be shattered. Can you trust your departing spouse to be forthright with the separation agreement?

What if a clause is inserted in your DIY document that you overlook, a clause that saps your retirement savings? What if you accidentally leave something out, and that omission benefits your spouse?

Dunnington Mansion may have once been regal, but now it is crumbling. It is an apt analogy for many a Virginia marriage. Your relationship with your spouse may have deteriorated to the point when you both recognize the marriage is over.

What comes next, after identifying the problem? Solving it. You both would like an uncontested, no-fault divorce. That is the smoothest, least expensive, fastest kind of Virginia divorce. But along the way to that, you need a separation period of either six months or a year. And you should have a separation agreement.

Enter the Property Settlement Agreement

As confusing as Jack being a nickname for John (they’re the same number of letters! What’s up with that?), a separation agreement is also known as the property settlement agreement. Hold on, though, because it also has these other, other names:

  • Collaborative Settlement Agreement
  • Custody, Support, and Property Agreement
  • Marital Settlement Agreement
  • Mediated Separation Agreement
  • Separation and Property Settlement Agreement

Ugh. You have not even started your cheap and easy DIY separation agreement and you are already confused. That’s Virginia law!

Anyway, you need this document to speed through an uncontested divorce in the Commonwealth. A (or separation agreement) spells out five key issues:

  1. Property division
  2. Child custody
  3. Child support payments
  4. Parenting time schedules
  5. Spousal support payments

You can see immediately that having no kids from the marriage greatly simplifies your task if you still choose to do a DIY agreement. Not every Virginia couple enters a marriage with a plan to end the marriage, though.

Ideally, you and your spouse will resolve all five of those complicated issues and write them clearly in the separation agreement. That document is the path through divorce, and preparing it correctly is crucial to avoiding missteps.

Doing your own cheap, easy separation agreement is actually not cheap and not easy.

Can Separation Agreements Be Cheap? Easy?

Let’s suppose your soon-to-be ex sneaks in a clause under property division that gives you only 25 percent of your retirement income. You may not even notice until years after the DIY separation agreement, and such a mistake could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars.

So is the DIY agreement cheap? Up front, maybe, but not in the long run.

So is the DIY separation document easy? Look them up yourself online, and notice the many, many, many parts you have to complete. You and your spouse have to agree on each item. Generally, the forms allow for no nuance, no complexity.

What if you have family heirlooms, intellectual property, or receive royalties? What if your spouse wants to use your vacation home six months out of the year in alternating years?

Call The Family Lawyers for Men

Hand the headaches over to professionals. The cheapest, easiest way to arrive at a mutually agreeable property settlement agreement is not via the DIY route.

Try this four-step method instead:

  1. Your spouse hires a family law attorney
  2. You hire an attorney handling Virginia men’s divorces
  3. You describe to your attorney your wishes in the five crucial areas
  4. Your spouse describes the same wish list

Then the attorneys do the heavy lifting. They spend the time, not you. They advance your wishes, inform you of ticklish issues, and draft the agreement. Back and forth, back and forth.

The result should be a legally solid, timeless document you and your departing spouse can live with for years to come. You both will barely break a sweat, and you both will have spent your money wisely. It is an investment sure to make you at least as happy as spending $22 on a Dunnington Mansion mug.

Put aside the sweat equity and worry. Contact The Firm For Men today or telephone our Virginia Beach office at (757) 383-9184 right now. Here, we will help you connect with an attorney trained to help Virginia’s men through all aspects of family law, including creation of a flawless separation agreement.