Don’t Lie on the Effective Date of Your Separation Agreement

Edrie Pfeiffer
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Edrie Pfeiffer, Bankruptcy & Divorce Attorney

Once most couples make the decision to split, they want to expedite the process as quickly as possible.  In order to speed up the divorce process, some couples will lie on their date of separation to expedite the process and divorce within months instead of waiting a full year, which is the requirement set by Virginia State Law for couples with children (only 6 months for couples without children). 

Legal separation starts once the couple stops living together and one of them decides to end the marriage.  If a couple lives separately and then attempts a reconciliation a few months later, the clock resets on that date.  Sometimes divorcing couples cannot immediately afford to live separately so their legal separation will begin when they stop sleeping in the same room and begins to live completely separately to include separating their finances. 

There are several reasons why it is a bad idea to lie on the date of separation. 

There are benefits to waiting a year!

  • Cooling Down Period.  Many of my divorce consultations don’t result in a divorce – just a cooling down period.Many couples have a huge fight over the weekend and call me Monday morning claiming they are ready for a divorce.After discussing their situation, what we realize is that they really just need a breather, which may last several months.It may take time to work through some serious issues, but divorce is not the desired outcome.

  • Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder.  After spending some time apart, many couples realize that they enjoyed being together more than they realized and reconnect.

  • Financial Benefits.While you’re still married, you can continue to take advantage of benefits you wouldn’t otherwise be eligible for, such as health insurance on your spouse’s plan, tax benefits, etc.Military couples must be married for 10 years before spouses can mutually benefit from insurance and death benefits.

You may have to provide evidence of your separation to the judge.  That includes doing the following:

  • Provide a detail of how/when you separated your finances,

  • Have witnesses testify that you have been living apart (so put the word out if you haven’t already!),

  • Cease socializing together, including church and children’s activities,

  • With children, only attend things together are absolutely necessary (sports game, doctors visit),

  • Stop wearing wedding rings.

Lying under oath is consider perjury and can have serious repercussions! 

A judge can impose a verbal or financial punishment, or even jail time if you are caught lying under oath.

Your divorce action could be dismissed and you will have to start all over again including paying all fees.

If you are suspected of lying, an appeal can be filed which can actually end up tying up more time and money.

Remember, the law was put in place for a reason.  Why rush? 

Are you ready to become legally separated or want to file an uncontested divorce?  I can help you.  Call me today at (757) 320-2010. 

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