If you are thinking of separating from your spouse, you may be considering a formal separation agreement. However, you may know little about making the agreement or what needs to be included in the document.
Here are a few details about separation agreements to help you better understand them:
A Separation Agreement Is a Contract
A separation agreement is considered a contract. The agreement, which is made between two spouses, must be signed, indicating the legality of the agreement or the mutual decision to live separately.
A Separation Agreement Settles Issues
A separation agreement helps settle issues that may develop between the two spouses. Details about the following may be listed in the agreement:
- Spousal support
- Child support
- Property divisions
- Payment responsibilities for outstanding debts
- Insurance assignments
- Tax responsibilities
Additional issues can also be addressed, based on the specific needs of the dividing family. If a family has religious differences, the separation agreement can list the decided religious preferences for the children.
A Separation Agreement Does Not Require a Separate Court Hearing for Property Divisions
A separation agreement does not require a separate hearing for the division of joint property. As long as the court approves the agreement, the formal separation can be put in place.
During a single hearing, the court can question the couple about the specifics of their situation. If the couple has not successfully negotiated the agreement, the judge can make final determinations on the portions of the separation agreement that remain in question. If both spouses agree to the details of the agreement, the judge may simply approve the separation request.
A Lawyer Makes a Separation Agreement Easier
An attorney is not required for a separation agreement, but he or she can make the negotiation process easier. The attorney has a good understanding of family law and the governing regulations of a separation. In addition, since an attorney is emotionally neutral in the case, he or she can help a client avoid issues that may arise from a resentful or angry self-representing spouse.
A Separation Agreement May Be Invalid Due to Fraud
If a spouse intentionally conceals something that could affect the agreement, the separation agreement is not valid. All property interests must be disclosed. Fraudulent behavior is frowned upon by the court and can cause a judge to lean heavily in favor of the other spouse.
If you are considering a separation agreement, schedule a consultation with a separation agreement lawyer in your local area.