A separation agreement is a legal document that is created when a couple decides to separate. It is similar to a divorce agreement, as it establishes many of the same terms, such as how to divide up assets and debts, which spouse will live in the marital home, a schedule for child custody and visitation and determines spousal support payments. However, a separation agreement can also include provisions about insurance coverage, like life and health insurance, to make sure that both parties will have coverage should something happen.
It can also define parameters for joint checking, savings and credit accounts so that both spouses know what is expected of them. Additionally, a separation agreement can specify whether the parties are legally married (which affects property rights) and, if not, it can outline common law marriage or putative marriage situations in those states that recognize those types of relationships.
Typically, a separation agreement will be incorporated and merged into any future divorce or dissolution of marriage decrees. This will make it easier to enforce, though the court can still modify these contracts if either spouse’s circumstances change dramatically.
It is important to discuss the contents of these agreements with a family lawyer before signing them. A lawyer can help ensure that all of the important information is included and that the terms are legally binding in your state’s laws. A lawyer can also help with issues such as child custody and spousal support. separation agreements