When a married couple is unable to make things work, the first step is a legal separation. A separation agreement is a written contract that spells out the rights of each person. The agreement can also include property settlement, child custody, and alimony. A couple can become legally separated at any time. They don’t even need to be living apart to become separated. A legal separation gives the couple a chance to see what their lives would be like if they were no longer married.
Why is a Marital Separation Agreement Important?
If you have no marital property, no children, and no joint debts, you may not need to have a marital separation agreement. However, if you want to be able to provide evidence to the court about the day that you separated, a marital separation could help. In some states, couples are required to be legally separated for a certain period before they can be legally divorced. When couples have a clearly written, legally binding document, it can make things easier when it comes time to file for divorce.
How Long Does a Marriage Separation Last?
When couples have a separation agreement drawn up, they can decide how long they want the agreement to be valid. If the separation lasts longer than expected, the agreement can be amended.
Can a Legal Separation Be Reversed?
If a couple decides that they don’t want to go through a divorce, and they are going to get back together, they can have their separation agreement reversed. The courts have a specific process that couples who are interested in having a reversal must adhere to.
What is Included in a Separation Agreement?
When couples have a separation agreement drawn up, there are various issues that need to be included so that both parties understand the details of the separation. The following items should be included:
- Child support
- Spousal Maintenance
- Division of Debts
- Division of Property
- Health Insurance
- Pension Plans
- Disposition of the Marital Home
- Tax Issues
- Pension Plans
- Future Dispute Settlement
What Happens to the Separation Agreement if the Couple Gets Divorced?
If a couple decides that the marriage is not going to work even after being separated after a period, they will file for divorce. If this happens, the separation agreement would be amended to the divorce agreement. If both parties still agree to the terms of the separation agreement, it will make the divorce process much easier. If either person decides that they are unhappy with the details of the separation agreement, these details can be worked out during the divorce proceedings. These things need to be mentioned before the divorce is made final. If nothing is changed, the same order would be included in the divorce decree is final. This can result in someone being unhappy with the final agreement in the end. Unfortunately, marriage does not always last forever. If a couple is having trouble making their marriage work, before jumping to filing for divorce, they should start with a separation. To keep things civilized and create an understanding between the couple.