If two spouses decide to part ways, bypassing a separation agreement may prove costly. Going right into divorce proceedings may do more harm than good at the onset of separation.
A separation agreement is a legal document that sets out the terms by which a couple agrees to conduct themselves while living apart. Gain some insight into what this document can and cannot do to decide whether it may work on a case-by-case basis.
What is the point of a legal separation?
When spouses agree to part ways, getting some distance may help them regroup and think about things in a more productive and beneficial way. In some cases, physical separation may lead to clarity and allow the couple to reconcile on better terms. In other cases, the physical distance helps a couple decide that the divorce needs to move forward. However, since they have not had the stress of residing together during an emotional time, the divorce process may move forward smoother.
Why get a separation agreement?
A separation agreement may benefit a couple who either moves on to divorce or decides to remain separated but legally married. Remember, there is no requirement that two people living apart get divorced. The items to address in a separation agreement may include:
- How the couple splits personal property and assets
- What legal and physical custody of children looks like
- The amount of support or equalization payments
Only a divorce can legally dissolve a marriage. Even if a couple winds up going through with it, a separation agreement may serve as the foundation to build final divorce documents.