It is the role of a lawyer in a Virginia marital agreement case to advise their client of the rights that they may have upon dissolution of the marriage, which helps that person make more educated decisions about what provisions should be contained in a marital agreement. In addition, a Virginia marital agreement lawyer can help facilitate resolution by negotiating with the other side in the form of a mediator in helping two parties reach a compromise that is satisfactory for both sides.

Rights of the Couple

In marital agreements, with the exception of matters relating to minor children, the parties can define any rights they are willing to agree upon and be bound by. That would also include rights relating to alimony, rights to the estate of the other spouse upon their death, and could include debt division and property division.

The things that cannot be resolved in these agreements, and to which the parties cannot be bound, are items relating to minor children. The parties would not have a legal ability to waive child support. The court is required to hear information contemporaneous with the custody or child support case. In a property settlement agreement, it is not uncommon for parties to include terms relating to custody, visitation and child support, but these terms still need to be approved by a judge.

Complying with Virginia Formalities

It is the role of a lawyer in a Virginia marital agreement case to know certain language that is required to be included for purposes of ensuring the enforceability of the agreement later on. On occasion, people seek an attorney to review an agreement that was written by them or their spouse, somebody who is not an attorney, and those agreements are missing key provisions.

The missing language required, for purposes of ensuring that the agreement is enforceable, allows the person to go to court and force the other party to comply with their part of the agreement. It is critical for parties contemplating a marital agreement to seek assistance and advice of counsel in doing so. Otherwise, the agreement could end up being ineffective.

Ensuring the Validity of the Agreement

If one of the parties to an agreement wanted to challenge the agreement later on by suggesting they were under undue influence or pressure, and that that was the only reason they signed it, they would not be able to do so as easily if an attorney had prepared the agreement, incorporating provisions such that both parties had the opportunity to consult counsel, both parties had the opportunity to contribute to the content of the agreement, and other such things. It is the role of an attorney in such Virginia marital agreement cases to ensure both parties are signing a document they agree on.

There are a number of ways from a legal perspective that a person could try and challenge the validity or enforceability of a written agreement. Retaining a marital agreement lawyer to assist an individual in writing the agreement is critical in avoiding challenges to the agreement in the future.

Representing Both Spouses

Attorneys are permitted to represent both parties under certain circumstances. However, it is not a good idea for attorneys to represent both parties in these cases. The parties’ interests are going to be somewhat adverse and it is impossible for an attorney to properly represent two people with opposing interests.

However, if one person retains an attorney and has the attorney draft an agreement according to their terms, the other spouse can take the agreement to an attorney of their choosing to review the agreement and advise if there are any potential pitfalls in the language of that agreement. Although, technically, a lawyer could represent either the drafter of the spousal support agreement or the reviewer of the agreement, it is not a good idea to represent both parties.

An attorney must assume the role of an advocate for their client in Virginia marital agreement cases, which included properly reviewing all documents at hand.

Maintaining Fairness

Fairness is subjective in marital agreement cases. Every person has their own view of the world based on their own experiences. Two legitimately fair-minded people could have very different ideas about a fair resolution. Where one party is the primary wage earner and the other party either works part time or not at all, it is hard for one of those spouses to understand the position of the other.

Fairness is what makes the most sense for both of the parties. Inevitably, one party will want a resolution that the other party is not in favor of, and the key to resolving those cases is finding an area that might overlap between the parties’ desires. It is the role of an attorney in a Virginia marital agreement case to find that line of fairness and work efficiently on behalf of their client.