Financial issues can be a sensitive topic between spouses, and money is often at the root of many divorces. Once a couple in Virginia has decided to end their marriage, trying to reach an out-of-court settlement can help divorcing spouses, particularly when it comes to financial issues. This is because when it comes to executing a settlement agreement, each spouse has more of a say in the outcome of their divorce, which may make them more satisfied with the final result. However, there are a couple points couples should keep in mind when addressing money-related issues during their divorce negotiations.
First, spouses may understand that there must be complete transparency with regards to assets, liabilities and income when it comes to property division, child custody, child support and spousal maintenance. However, this transparency must continue even after the divorce is final. For example, if the spouses agree to share certain costs, bills will need to be kept and shared. If a spouse experiences some other financial upswing or downfall, this will also need to be communicated, as it could require a modification of a child support or spousal maintenance order.
Another thing to keep in mind, particularly when it comes to property division, is the future. Virginia is an “equitable distribution” state, meaning that if property divisions issues need to be litigated, the court will make a decision based on what would be fair and just. So, when couples are negotiating property division issues, they may keep equity in mind. However, when making such decisions, they are generally thinking of the “here and now.” Sadly, unfortunate events such as a serious illness, a job loss or the depreciation of a significant asset, such as a home, could befall anyone. While no one can predict the future, it is possible to include clauses in a settlement agreement about how certain possible events will be addressed.
Couples attempting to settle their divorce out-of-court should understand that financial transparency and communication will need to continue even after the ink has dried on the final divorce decree. Being open and honest about finances both during the settlement process and afterwards can be beneficial for both spouses, even after they part ways and head into their separate futures.