Is That Legal? A Law Blog

The Basics Of Separation Agreement Creation

If you and your spouse have decided that it's time to separate and pursue a divorce, you should start thinking about a separation agreement. In fact, some states require a legally filed separation, with a detailed separation agreement, before you can file for divorce. If you're thinking about creating a separation agreement for your situation, there are a few things that you should know. Here are a couple of tips to help you with the process.

Consider The Current Situation

When it comes to separation and divorce, many times it creates tension and difficult communication between the two parties. If you and your spouse are unable to communicate effectively because of hostilities, you may not be able to reach a separation agreement mutually without third-party intervention. In that case, it may be best for you each to hire a family lawyer to act as intermediaries, and have your lawyers set up mediation to create your separation agreement.

If, however, the separation is amicable, the two of you may be able to sit down and reach a full separation agreement with ease. In this case, it's often beneficial to have a family law attorney to review the agreement afterward to ensure that it is legally enforceable and see that it is equitable for both of you.

Know What To Include

One of the hardest parts for many couples when it comes to separation agreements is knowing what to include in the document. Your separation agreement should clearly define the date of which your separation is effective. This is important, especially in states where you must be legally separated for a specific period of time before you can file for divorce.

The body of the agreement should detail everything regarding your mutual finances, investments, properties, and more. Make sure you specify who retains ownership of each asset, including homes, cars, and investment accounts. Then, detail who is responsible for each debt.

Your separation agreement should also address how your taxes will be filed between the time of separation and the time of divorce, including who retains the right to claim dependents. Finally, spousal support, child support, and child custody issues should be addressed as well.

The goal with a separation agreement is to create a document that can effectively transfer into a divorce decree when the time comes.

Recognize When You Need Help

A legal separation agreement is a legally binding contract. It's important that you are comfortable with the agreement and its terms. If you're inexperienced with the family laws in your state, struggling with the details of the agreement, or just don't know where to start, you should reach out to a family law attorney for help. They can guide you through the legal requirements and the separation agreement process. Contact a family lawyer for more information.