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There is no formal legal separation in Virginia. You do not have to go to Court to be separated. You simply separate. However, before you do so, there are lots of factors for you to consider and the actions you take at this time could have long lasting ramifications in future legal proceedings.
The benefits of having an agreement are numerous, with the chief among them being that the parties decide rather than the judge.
Pre-Nuptial Agreements in Virginia by Shane Jimison, Esq.
Prenuptial agreements are not simply for the older couple on their second or third marriage, prenups are for anyone, young or older, who wish to set out the legal rights and obligations of the couple in the event of a divorce.

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The Virginia court gives primary consideration to the best interests of the child in determining custody. The court assures minor children of frequent and continuing contact with both parents, when appropriate, and encourages parents to share in the responsibilities of rearing their children. In determining the best interests of a child, the court considers a variety of factors including the age, physical and mental condition of the child as well as each parent, the needs of the child, the role of each parent and the rapport of each parent, and the "willingness and demonstrated ability of each parent to maintain a close and continuing relationship with the child, and the ability of each parent to cooperate in and resolve disputes regarding matters affecting the child," family abuse, and "other factors as the court deems necessary and proper to the determination."

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