Legal Question in Family Law in Virginia

PSA Wording -- splitting costs of ''necessary repairs''

I am in the process of a difficult divorce. In our draft PSA (still unsigned by either of us) it states that I am responsible for 50% of any ''necessary repairs'' made to sell our marital home. I have no problem with that.

My wife has chosen to let our daughter take her bedroom door off of the hinges and take it with her when they move. My daughter wrote on the door and wants to keep it. My wife is telling me that I am responsible for half of the cost of a new door to replace the one my daughter is taking.

To my way of thinking, letting my daughter remove and keep the door is a choice that my wife is making (without consulting me to see if I'd agree to pay half), not a ''necessary repair.'' My wife insists that her lawyer agrees with her.

I understand that I could try and change the PSA at this point but how specific would I have to get to prevent my wife from taking any other doors, toilet seats, etc.?

I am admittedly confused as to how taking a door of it's hinges by choice could be seen by the court as a necessity. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you!

Asked on 3/01/05, 1:19 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Michael Stone Law Offices of Michael B. Stone Toll Free 1-855-USE-MIKE

Re: PSA Wording -- splitting costs of ''necessary repairs''

Tell your daughter she is welcome to the door in lieu of her next birthday present. Unless the door is gold plated, you are going to look pretty silly going to court over this type of dispute.

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Answered on 3/01/05, 3:56 pm

Fred Kaufman Fredrick S. Kaufman, Esquire

Re: PSA Wording -- splitting costs of ''necessary repairs''

If you are in the middle of a difficult divorce then I hope you have an excellent lawyer. You will be severely at a disadvantage if you do not. No PSA should be entered without the careful scrutiny and advise of excellent counsel. This is the best advise I can give you. Once entered, a PSA is nearly impossible to get out of.

Your point is well taken about the need for a PSA to be umambiguous and specific as to the terms of any agreement. In the facts you present, I agree with you that the replacement of the door is not a "necessary repair" but is rather voluntary. The term is ambiguous which leaves plenty of room to argue meaning to a judge at enforcement time. Remember your PSA probably calls for the payment of attorney's fees to the loser of any PSA dispute.

Sign nothing without a lawyer. I'm sorry we cost money.

Good luck.

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Answered on 3/01/05, 4:22 pm

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