A separation agreement typically refers to a legally binding document that is crafted by the two parties in a marriage relationship. The two parties in the marital relationship use the agreement to formally divide their debts, assets, and any other marital responsibilities. It has to make sure that all the parties get a fair separation from one another.
Separation agreements are used when couples know that they are heading for a divorce. However, if you wish to separate for some time and reconcile later, you can also use the separation agreement. The other things that are included in this private document are property division, alimony, child visitation and support.
Your lawyer can submit the completed separation agreement before the judge during the divorce proceedings. However, it can become the final divorce decree of the judge.
The separation agreement document is legal and hence both parties should agree to its content during a separation. This article will help you to understand everything that you need to know about a separation agreement.
Separation VS. Divorce
Most people don’t understand the difference between a divorce and a separation. There is a very big difference between these two terms. A separation is not an actual divorce even though it can be the first step in a divorce.
The court also treats a separation and a divorce separately. Judges are not involved in ruling over or enforcing a separation. Therefore, you don’t have to go to the court to finalize this document. However, you need to treat it with the desired attention because it is legally binding.
In a separation, the couple remains married legally but decides not to engage in any marital relationships. As you enter a separation, you may have the intention of reconciling later on. However, if you are unable to settle the differences, you may decide to go for a divorce. A couple may decide to separate yet know that they will remain married legally.
When it comes to a divorce, you have to appear before a judge in order to file a divorce decree. After the couple is granted the divorce, it is no longer married legally. Therefore, you seize to remain husband and wife.
Why Consider A Separation Agreement
There are several instances that can call for a separation agreement. Some of them include:
A Couple That Wants To Separate But Remain Married
Separation agreement is the best option as the couple tries to figure out their next move. Since you are not sure what the future holds, you can work on your differences as you live apart temporarily. During the separation, you can agree on certain responsibilities that you can share.
As a couple, you may desire to retain your legal status but live apart and separate. The separation agreement, in this case, will help you to divide your responsibilities.
Marriage Couples That Have Decided To Divorce
A marriage separation agreement also forms a basis for divorce. It means that you have already agreed on how you will share your responsibilities, properties, liabilities, debts, assets, and also children. The separation agreement is merged with the divorce proceedings so that it becomes part of the judgment.
Benefits Of A Separation Agreement
There is no need to allow the court to decide your divorce when there is room for agreement. The most important thing is to include conditions that are fair to each party. You can find a black separation agreement to guide you through the process.
If you have a document that clearly shows how you will separate your responsibilities and finances and your terms of separation, it will take you less time to figure out the same before a judge.
If you can agree on certain elements that are in the separation agreement, you will spend less time in the court for the divorce proceedings and litigation.
Contrary to the divorce proceedings, the separation agreement alone shouldn’t be filled in a court. It is a private legal document that other people will not access unless you give them the authority to view the agreement. That is why most people go for the employment separation agreement.
Components Of A Separation Agreement
A married couple can include anything in the separation agreement as long as they feel it is important. However, here are some of the items that you should consider including in the separation agreement.
1. Spousal Support
If one of the parties has made contributions or sacrifices to the family that have limited their earnings, they need to agree on spousal support or alimony. You have to agree on this item when you are used to a certain lifestyle as a couple. The separation agreement should have details on the length and amounts of spousal support payments. It is good to include spousal support in the separation agreement.
2. Child Support
The child support should entail the specific payment dates, mount, the length of the payment, and details of the health insurance of the child. Apart from having details about the child support, the court can use it during the divorce to take care of the interests of the child.
Assets include personal properties and items like real estate that you own together as a married couple.
Couples have various debts like credit card bills, car payments, and mortgages. Other obligations for a couple could be monthly subscriptions that you share.
Spouses normally list the other as beneficiaries of items like pension and the other retirement plans. The separation agreement will release the partner from getting the benefits in case something happens to the spouse before they get divorced officially.
Taxes tend to be a complicated part of the divorce process. The separation agreement should include what should happen to the taxes in the annual filing.
Things That Make The Separation Agreement Valid
A separation agreement will be valid when:
- It is fair to both parties
- Has signatures for both spouses
- Was written with two lawyers
- Discloses all details
If the separation agreement misses any of these items, it can be challenged in a court as an illegal document. Both parties should agree to its content and participate in the process of drafting it.
It is not an easy decision to come up with a separation agreement. However, it is a decision that makes your transition to a divorce easier. If you can talk to your spouse, it is better to create a marriage separation agreement. It will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.