There are times when spouses want to end a relationship. In such a case, there are several options. Apart from filing for divorce, spouses can sign a separation agreement without involving the court. There is also mediation and arbitration, which spouses can consider avoiding the lengthy legal process. However, the decision of arbitration is binding, meaning that both parties must adhere to the decision taken by the arbitrator(s).
While divorce leads to the annulment of marriage, a separation agreement doesn’t end the marriage. A separation agreement is between spouses who don’t want to divorce but want to live apart. A separation agreement can provide an alternate solution to divorce, especially if the spouses are not sure they want to end the marriage. Moreover, in some cases, a separation agreement can provide some time to reconsider their decision. In some cases, it is beneficial for couples who have children together. They can work out their problems while ensuring that the health of their children is not affected.
While a separation agreement does not lead to divorce, it is a legally binding document which both parties must comply with. The time it takes to draw up a separation agreement varies from one case to another. It depends on the various issues that come up.
Here are a few essential things to consider when signing a separation agreement:
In a separation, the couple may decide not to live together. In such instances, one of the spouses may have to provide financial support to the other spouse (and children, if there are any). The document should mention how much one spouse receives as support. Moreover, if you have children, the document should also say which parent will provide financial support and which parent will take care of the children.
Conditions leading to divorce
The most common reasons people file for divorce include conflicts, lack of commitment, extramarital affairs, lack of physical intimacy, long-distance relationships, and domestic violence. In legal terms, these reasons are usually categorized into irreconcilable differences, infidelity, and incompatibility.
An agreement should outline the conditions that will lead to divorce. The terms should be laid out. However, you need to keep in mind that a court may overrule some of the conditions included in the separation agreement if you want to seek divorce in the future. When it comes to divorce, a separation agreement does not provide the final verdict.
A separation agreement should also contain specificities regarding the joint assets of the spouses and how to divide them between the spouses. Sometimes, separation agreements contain clauses regarding not to revisit the division of property after it has been finalized. Any agreement regarding property and assets is final and legally binding on both parties.
When signing a separation agreement, you need to have full disclosure about your savings, debt, investments, and properties. This is important to ensure a fair division of assets, especially if children are involved. Remember that a separation agreement is a legal document, and falsifying it can result in legal consequences.
Hire a lawyer
Separation agreements are complicated. Hence, you require the proper guidance and support of an experienced lawyer and attorney. You may also need legal advice in drawing up a separation agreement. A lawyer will also guide you regarding the various aspects of the contract, especially for the division of assets.
Get expert property settlement tips & advice from an experienced lawyer in your area. A lawyer can help you meet paperwork requirements and deadlines. For instance, you can apply for an out-of-court agreement in the Family Court through the Application for Consent Orders. Your attorney can also help formalize your agreement relating to the division of assets and financial matters through a Binding Financial Agreement (BFA).
When choosing a family lawyer, take due diligence to determine the best attorneys in your area to make an intelligent comparison. You can also obtain recommendations or referrals from relatives and friends, especially those with the same legal case as yours. Moreover, a crucial aspect of decision-making is interviewing your prospective lawyer to gauge if you feel comfortable discussing your case with the legal counsel.
Separation agreements can facilitate couples and help them in making a decision that is right for their family.