The End of an Era: Why You Need To Create a Separation Agreement
If you are considering splitting up with your spouse, one document that you need to create is a separation agreement. A separation agreement is a document that states how you and your spouse plan to split your assets, handle child custody arrangements, and manage expenses. It may also include information regarding alimony or child support, or specify who gets to remain in the family home. In most states, the separation agreement is legally enforceable.
Some couples mistakenly believe that they do not need to address any of these issues until they actually file for divorce and depend on the divorce decree to address these important matters. Check out a few reasons that you should consider drafting a separation agreement as soon as possible.
You Can Save Money and Time by Reaching an Agreement Concerning Sensitive Matters
Divorce can be an expensive, time-consuming process. One of the top things you can do to decrease your divorce-related expenses and the amount of time that you spend in court is to talk with your spouse about important matters as early as possible. Creating a separation agreement helps you cover in writing all the areas that you and your spouse need to reach an agreement on.
If you can reach an agreement on pertinent matters on your own, this will help keep your legal expenses under control. There may be areas of the agreement where you and your spouse disagree during the first round of negotiations. Acknowledging these issues as soon as possible helps you both reach a reasonable compromise.
Some States Require a Separation Period before a Couple Can File for Divorce
There are some states that require couples to be separated for a certain period of time before they can file for divorce. If you live in one of these states, you don't want important matters to be up in the air during your required separation period. By drafting a separation agreement, each individual understands what he or she need to do while separated. It also helps both parties plan for the future. You can also use the agreement to specify dates or timelines that each space should adhere to.
For example, the separation agreement might state who is supposed to provide health insurance for the children. Or it may specify that one spouse is supposed to maintain coverage for the other spouse until the divorce is finalized. The spouse that has to ultimately leave the family home may agree to contribute to household expenses until an agreed upon date.
For help with understanding and creating this important document, contact a separation agreement lawyer near you.