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A property settlement agreement (PSA) is a contract that a married couple will typically sign during divorce proceedings, outlining a variety of parenting and financial issues, including marital property distribution, child support, alimony, and more. In Virginia, a couple won’t be legally permitted to file this document until they have lived apart for at least one year.
If you have questions about filing a property settlement agreement, reach out to one of our dedicated Hampton Roads divorce attorneys at Invictus Law to discuss your case today.
In most cases, the property settlement agreement can be broken down into several sections. Some common issues that are addressed in the PSA include:
This section outlines a parenting time schedule and dictates how the parents will share childcare responsibilities, including decision-making authority and daily care for the child. This section will also detail the amount of monthly child support the non-custodial parent will pay to the custodial parent (even if the parents have joint custody and share parenting time almost equally, one of the parents will still pay child support to the other parent based on factors such as income).
In some cases, the amount of money parents spend on childcare in any given month could exceed the amount provided in child support. The PSA could outline who will cover these extra costs, including summer camp, extracurricular events, and more. Parents sometimes also include stipulations about how a child’s college education will be paid since Virginia does not require the non-custodial parent to continue paying child support once the child is 18.
Another important section of a PSA is alimony or spousal support. This section describes the amount of support that one parent must pay the other and how long these payments will continue. The courts do not specifically dictate how alimony should be determined, which can present challenges for couples who disagree over how much alimony the paying spouse must provide.
This section will also dictate whether or not modifications can be made to alimony once the PSA has been submitted. If alimony can be modified under the agreement, then the document will detail how it may be modified later.
Property and debt distribution may be the most critical aspect of the agreement, as it outlines how marital property will be divided between the two parties. Marital property primarily consists of property acquired by the couple jointly in the marriage, such as homes and other property, cars, businesses, bank and investment accounts, stocks, fine art, furniture, and much more.
This section will usually also denote non-marital property or property that isn’t subject to the agreement under Virginia state law. Some couples, however, may wish to divide these assets, and if that’s the case, the PSA should dictate who gets what. It will also describe how the couple’s debts will be distributed after the divorce.
The PSA will also make a note of the date on which the couple started living “separate and apart.”
The PSA will also dictate how tax benefits and burdens shared by the couple will be distributed amongst the two parties. This includes:
● Mortgage interest and real estate tax deductions
● Schedule E deductions
● Child tax credit
● Child and dependent care credit
The PSA will also describe how future tax refunds and liabilities will be split amongst the two parties.
Contact the Virginia Beach divorce attorneys at Invictus Law today for a consultation if you have questions about the divorce process or require legal assistance while drafting your property settlement agreement.