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Plaintiff wife filed a bill of complaint for divorce from defendant husband and equitable distribution of their property, pursuant to Va. Code §§ 20-91 and 20-107.3, while defendant filed a cross-bill for divorce on fault grounds and for adoption of a premarital agreement that he alleged that the parties had entered into, pursuant to Va. Code § 20-149.OverviewPrior to getting married, plaintiff wife and defendant husband discussed entering into a premarital agreement. She prepared a document and gave it to defendant a week before they married. After they married, separated, and plaintiff filed for divorce and equitable distribution of property, pursuant to Va. Code §§ 20-91 and 20-107.3, she could not recall if they had actually signed an agreement. Defendant insisted they had, in fact, signed the agreement and property should be distributed thereunder; however, he was unable to produce any evidence of a signed agreement. He also filed a cross-bill for divorce on fault grounds. Following a hearing, plaintiff moved for a no-fault divorce and defendant agreed. In a letter opinion, the court granted her a no-fault divorce, the parties having been separated for over a year. The court also ruled that defendant had the burden of proving an agreement and that the evidence failed to show that they had entered into a valid agreement under Va. Code § 20-149, which required a signed writing. Accordingly, the court classified the assets and liabilities of the parties as separate or marital. The marital property and debt were divided equally.OutcomeA letter opinion was issued (a) granting plaintiff a no-fault divorce, by agreement, due to the parties having lived separate and apart for over a year; (b) ruling that the parties had not entered into a valid premarital agreement, defendant having failed to present evidence of a written agreement signed by both parties; (c) classifying property as separate or marital; and (d) dividing marital property and debts equally.
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