Divorce is a common experience, and many married couples in Virginia may eventually find themselves facing that process. Instead of litigating, it is quite common for modern couples to negotiate or mediate their differences so that they can pursue uncontested divorce proceedings.
During negotiations, potentially contentious issues may come up that could affect the ability of the process to remain amicable. For starters, there is no question that the five factors listed below could ultimately influence the outcome of a Virginia divorce.
1. Financial misconduct
Whether someone spent money on an affair or use the couple’s credit cards irresponsibly in the last few weeks or months before their divorce filing, debts and wasteful spending can be a real challenge to address in divorce negotiations. Couples may need to separate certain debts from the marital estate to arrive at fair solutions.
2. Accusations of infidelity
Virginia is one of the few states in the country that still has a law prohibiting extramarital affairs. Those accused of infidelity will likely not face prosecution, but there could be financial consequences if they used marital resources while conducting their affairs. The harm done by infidelity and the money wasted on the relationship can come into play during divorce negotiations.
3. Health issues
Although marriage vows often include promises to support one another regardless of how health may change, some people struggle to uphold those vows. Some spouses file for divorce because they don’t want to remain married to someone with cancer or intractable mental health issues. When divorce is the result of health concerns, issues including spousal support and insurance could potentially complicate divorce negotiations.
4. Companion animals
Virginia law is relatively clear about the rights of parents in the event of a divorce, meaning that people can trust that they will receive access to their children. Unfortunately, companion animals do not have the same protection under the law. Pets can be an emotional complication during divorce proceedings, spouses may have to make concessions and potentially prepare to say goodbye to an animal they love.
5. Major assets
Real property, retirement accounts and businesses can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. They could also have significant emotional value to both of the spouses. It can be difficult for couples to set aside their feelings about one another and their property to achieve a truly reasonable solution to their property division matters.
Identifying challenges that could potentially complicate your upcoming divorce negotiations can make it easier to prepare an effective strategy and establish expectations. Talking through your concerns with your attorney can bring calm to a situation that is threatening to boil over.