13 May 2014 0 Comments

What Terms Should Be Included in a Separation Agreement?

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A separation agreement is a contract between spouses in which they agree on issues regarding property, finances, and child care. Though a separation agreement is not required by law, having these matters resolved in a legal contract provides stability and harmony for both parties.

It is important for each party to have their agreement designed by their attorney, who ensures that all matters are covered in detail, and that the terms agreed upon can be enforced by the court. The question is, what terms should you include in your separation agreement?

Though the terms agreed on vary upon the needs of the parties involved, a separation agreement should cover many of the same issues that would be covered in a divorce. First off, the right for each spouse to live separately should be established. Another of the most common subjects addressed is child care; custody of the child, child support amount, and the child’s expenses including educational, medical, and recreational expenses should all be clearly stated. In addition, a visitation schedule should be established in the agreement, in order to resolve future disagreements. It may also include how child care will proceed if both parents die. Another child care aspect to address is whose insurance policy the child is covered by, and if that coverage will continue.The agreement should also cover the state of the spouse’s life, medical, and dental insurance.

A separation agreement should also include the division of property. The owner of the matrimonial house should be established. Property also covers specific items and pets. In regards to finances, division of debt should be addressed, as well as income taxes, and the specifics of alimony or spousal support. If spousal support is included, include the amount, how the amount will be paid (monthly or as a lump sum), and what form the transaction will take (check, money order, etc.) Availability of liquid assets should be a concern when writing the terms. Liquid assets include cash and other assets that can converted into cash. This is important to consider especially for any party with low income; these assets may be needed during the separation to pay bills or other unexpected expenses.

After child care, finances, and division of property are covered, terms in a separation agreement will vary depending on each individual scenario. It might want to establish a specific way to resolve disagreements about the contract if they arise, such as if mediation or arbitration will ensue.

It is important to remember that a separation agreement can only be enforced if both parties wholly agree to the terms; neither spouse can be coerced into the agreement. When writing up the contract, try to compromise with the spouse. A give-and-take strategy is usually the best way to resolve a disagreement. Though a separation agreement does not need to be filed within the court, it can be referred to during a dispute. If the parties choose to get a divorce, the separation agreement can be used to create a settlement.

Speak to an experienced family law attorney and know in detail what would be the best option for your case, divorce or filing for legal separation. Contact the law firm that can provide aggressive legal representation to ensure the best possible outcome.

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