What Is Your Separation Agreement?
While there is no formal requirement that a legal agreement be made when a married couple wishes to separate, setting out the parameters of the desired arrangement can be a good way to ensure that both parties are protected. In cases where the parties have divergent financial circumstances, a separation agreement may even be critical, particularly when one spouse is the breadwinner and the other is a stay-at-home parent. Using a formal agreement at the point of separation can help guarantee that everyone gets what they need.
A qualified attorney is well-suited to draft a separation agreement that not only covers all important topics, but also is in line with the law in the relevant jurisdiction. While it may seem cost-effective to engage just one attorney to handle this task, it is actually in the interest of each party to have their own representation. That way, the distinct needs of each party will be thoroughly safeguarded. Separation agreements can vary greatly, depending on the case, but certain elements should always be taken into consideration.
Critical Items In Any Separation Agreement
- Spousal rights to live independently
- How will custody of minor children be handled
- Visitation schedule for non-custodial parents
- Amount of child support required
- Any spousal support to be paid
- Expenses relating to the educational, medical and recreational needs of the childrenDivision of assets and liabilities
- Income tax liability/refunds
- Health, life and dental insurance coverage
Do I Need A Critical Separation Agreement?
It is not necessary to file separation agreements with the local court, though they can be utilized in subsequent court proceedings over disputes that may arise. It should be noted that a separation agreement that was made without full and candid disclosure of relevant facts may be held to be unenforceable. If divorce proceedings ultimately occur, the terms of the separation agreement can be used as a template for the final settlement, though it is always possible for the parties to agree to different separation agreement.