Some married couples choose to legally separate rather than divorce. In these cases, a separation agreement will serve as the written contract that divides a couple’s assets and outlines the rights and obligations of each person.
You should create a separation agreement if you:
- have decided to separate and can agree on how property will be divided;
- are considering a divorce and want to separate before making a decision;
- are considering a legal separation and would like to have preliminary terms for a final division of property; or
- are planning on meeting with an attorney regarding the separation and would like to prepare a property division outline.
What to Include In a Separation Agreement
A separation agreement usually contains terms similar to a divorce agreement.
These terms include:
- who will keep the house;
- who will be responsible for home expenses (bills, mortgage, insurance);
- who will be responsible for home expenses if the separation leads to divorce;
- how marital debts and assets will be divided;
- whether a spouse will require spousal support;
- whether a spouse will have access to the other’s benefits (medical insurance); and
- the terms for child support, custody, and visitation if children are involved.
Once a couple decides on the terms of their separation, they must sign the agreement in the presence of a notary. Each party should keep a copy of the agreement so, if the terms are violated, they can dispute it in court.
How Long Can a Separation Last?
There is no set time limit for a legal separation. Couples can stay separated indefinitely or until they divorce or remarry. Many couples stay legally separated for personal or financial reasons. Regardless of your situation, a separation attorney can ensure your agreement meets the needs of your family.
Let Us Help with Your Separation Agreement
Our attorneys are prepared to handle your case from beginning to end. We can walk you through the entire process of separation and ensure the agreement you create is ironclad.
Contact our firm online or call us at (917) 809-7669 for your case evaluation.