Separation agreements are something that needs to be in writing and signed by the parties if it just deals with the separation. Requirements of a separation agreement are best to review with an attorney.

If there is an agreement that has to do with, for instance, other issues related to the separation, such as who is responsible for the payment of the mortgage or the health insurance, the court would also need to see what they call consideration, which means that it is not an entirely one-sided agreement.

Basically, one side is giving something a value and the other side is also giving something a value, so that would be an enforceable treatment in the eyes of the court. Retaining an experienced separation agreements attorney will help guide you through the steps you need to take during this difficult time.

File for No-Fault Divorce

A former couple has to be separated for one year only if they have minor children or if they do not have minor children but they have not settled their case. There is a little bit of an exception to that. With a Fairfax separation agreements lawyer, these rules will be gone over and explained in more depth.

If a couple does not have minor children and has signed an agreement resolving all issues in their case, they only have to wait six months before filing. That is the only exception, otherwise, the separation period must exceed one year.


There is value, particularly considering the emotional complexity of divorce, in each party having their own space. Things can get rather tense and therefore, not conducive to cooperation or settlements when the parties are still very much in each other’s space.

Separation can be useful in that way. However, if the parties separate and one or the other spouse takes up with a new romantic interest that can make resolution of a case more complicated.

Assuming that there is no other party involved in terms of a new girlfriend or boyfriend, then overall, if the parties can afford to have two separate households, separation can diffuse the tension that might otherwise stand in the way of settling a case.

Rules to Follow

It is possible to get a court to put some parameters in place that would govern the separation period. An example would be an order to preserve marital assets. That means the parties cannot waste or use inappropriately any marital assets, particularly if they are trying to deplete marital state. That is one rule that could apply towards separation agreements in Fairfax.

Other rules might be that the court could order one or the other spouse to maintain health insurance for a party and for the children.

Outside of the adultery piece in which a person is not allowed to engage in an extramarital relationship, there is no automatic law that would govern the separation period, but there are a means by which a party could get certain rules put in place by a judge, such as a non-dissipation order or a requirement that helps insurance be carried for the party.

Requirements of Couples

In Virginia, a person cannot have a sexual relationship with a person who is not their spouse. That is considered a crime since adultery is a crime in Virginia.

If the parties are not legally divorced and one of them engages in a sexual relationship with somebody outside of the marriage, they could theoretically be prosecuted in Virginia for committing a crime. It is important to know the requirements when undergoing a separation agreement in Fairfax.

Since this rule is still on the books and the Virginia legislature has altered some other crimes related to sexual encounters between non-married parties, those have been altered. Adultery has not been removed from the books, so even though it does not often happen, it is important that people know they could have criminal exposure if they engage in this behavior.

Contact a Lawyer

If you and your spouse are considering getting a divorce in the Fairfax area, it is important to contact a separation lawyer to know the steps you have to take during this difficult time. Getting a lawyer will make the process less challenging than it already is.