A separation agreement helps both parties feel safe regarding their assets, debts, or parental issues, but it can be canceled if they decide to get back together or divorce.
When two married people decide to part ways, but they are not yet considering a divorce, a separation agreement is a solution to determine certain aspects of their lives concerning each other legally.
What Is a Separation Agreement?
A marital separation agreement is a legally binding document used to divide marital property, settle custodial issues, and other aspects influenced by this change in their marital status.
Often, a separation agreement is drafted before the actual divorce, while in other cases, couples decide to take this step and not eliminate the chance of reconciliation later. It is important to know that separation and divorce are not synonyms, but they should be treated carefully since they are legally binding.
Why Opt for a Separation Agreement?
While the reasons why a couple might decide to separate can be highly personal or influenced by external factors like finances, debts, etc., the following situations apply to most cases:
- The two spouses are determined to get a divorce, but the prospect of a long divorce process pushes them to choose a separation agreement first.
- The two parties decide to separate but still be married, whether for the prospect of a future reconciliation or the benefits they get as a married couple.
The benefits a separation agreement has, compared to a divorce, include a lower cost, less time to spend on it, flexibility, and the fact that it’s not a decisive decision. A separation agreement helps both parties feel safe regarding their assets, debts, or parental issues, but it can be canceled if they decide to get back together or divorce.
Conditions Included in a Separation Agreement
If you are interested in what kind of decisions can be legally settled through a separation agreement, here is a list of the most common items included in such a document:
- Division of assets: deciding what happens to the marital assets shared between the two spouses
- Benefits: a married couple has a series of benefits, socially and financially. These should be discussed in your separation agreement.
- Child and spousal support: if one of the spouses is more dependent on the other spouse, they can be entitled to receiving spousal support. Child support for minor children must be settled too.
- Debts and taxes: financial obligations that the two spouses have been sharing until the separation will be determined and agreed on.
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