Virginia Divorce Law: Just Because You Got It, Doesn’t Mean It’s Protected

Imagine you’ve just wrapped up a divorce case and the court awarded you 45% of your retired ex-spouse’s pension plan. You would think that you can then rely on getting a specific amount of money, 45% of the monthly pension payment your partner has earned, and there’s no way you’ll be getting less than that. Well, not necessarily. That’s what the Court of Appeals addressed recently in the case of Pederson v. Pederson, Record No. 1178-15-4 (Va. Ct. App. 2016). Continue reading

Virginia Premarital Agreements: Yes, You Mean What You Say

Premarital agreements, also commonly known as prenuptial agreements or a “prenup”, are contracts. But family law in Virginia can act like a distortion zone, where the normal rules of court are modified or cast aside in favor of pursing fairness, or at least fairness as the judge sees it. So the question is whether a premarital agreement is interpreted like a normal contract, according to the plain language of the agreement, or can be interpreted other ways to achieve a more “fair” outcome. That’s what the Court of Appeals addressed recently in the case of McDaniel v. Griffith, Record No. 0597-15-3 (Va. Ct. App. 2016). Continue reading