In many cases, couples decide to pursue a separation instead of or before pursuing a divorce. This option allows people to take steps to end their relationship without committing to the finality of a divorce or its legal implications. A separation can be used for long-term purposes instead of divorce when a couple is seeking to maintain religious benefits, tax benefits, or even healthcare benefits.
To separate from one another, the general formalities of a divorce should be covered. Paperwork must be filed with the court announcing the intention to separate. In this time, a couple must make decisions about child custody, property divisions, spousal support, and other matters.
What is included in a separation agreement?
Called a separation agreement, this document is a legally binding contract that outlines all of the issues that would normally be addressed in a separation but does not involve the court like a divorce does. This may make the process smoother for all involved and save on expensive costs associated with courtroom litigation.
The separation agreement should address:
- The primary residence of the children
- Child visitation agreement
- Payment of living expenses
- Child support and alimony
- Management of joint assets
- Sale of joint property
- Treatment of post-separation property
This agreement can be made between the spouses, or using the help of a mediator or attorney. While no legal help may be needed, it should be sought to ensure the legality of the agreement being made.
If you are considering a separation agreement and want to make sure that you can uphold the document in court, consult with a family law attorney at Cutter & Lax today.