A “separation agreement” is a legally binding contract that deals with all aspects of a separation, including issues of child support and visitation, property division and alimony. It is an alternative to a married couple getting divorce or when they have agreed to live apart in contemplation of a divorce. Although separation is not permanent like a divorce is, it can later become permanent. A separation agreement addresses important issues that can later serve as the foundation of the divorce agreement. Therefore negotiated terms may indeed wind up being permanent, even if they were written out during a separation agreement.
Important specifics of a separation agreement include the following:
• Child Matters: Where the children will live and when the children will spend time with each parent
• Property Matters: Who will pay for living expenses, such as rent and/or mortgage payments, utilities, taxes, health care costs and groceries
• Financial Dues: Whether either spouse will pay child support and/or alimony during separation how the couple will manage assets (bank accounts or investments, etc.) during the separation period whether the couple will divide or sell any property during the separation period
• Division of Property: How property and income obtained after the date of the separation will be handled.
A separation agreement is best handled through an attorney because the decisions made may have serious consequences. Using an attorney can ensure that your rights are protected, and that a valid agreement is drafted. Most divorce lawyers will be able to provide a list of issues typically addressed in a separation agreement. During the negotiating process it is essential to keep an open mind in order to reach the actual settlement
Contact Thorsteinson Law Group to help you with your separation agreement or divorce. We provide complimentary consultations, and are dedicated to helping you through the divorce process.