A separation agreement is a legal contract between two spouses that defines how the couple will go about issues related to their separation. It is typically ideal for separating couples who are able to remain unified with the conditions that would be set out in the agreement.
What does a separation agreement do?
This type of agreement is designed to help couples who are separating address issues on living arrangements, the division of property and assets, as well as child custody and spousal support.
The value of a separation agreement is its tendency to bring people together in working towards a common goal. This is especially true when children are involved. Separation agreements allow you to resolve issues outside of the courts, which usually offers greater freedom and flexibility when it comes to decision making. The alternative is the courts making these decisions for you, which oftentimes may not yield your ideal outcome.
Additionally, by comparison, the costs of going to court versus a separation agreement are usually significantly higher. Separation agreements can offer greater control over the separation process while the court process tends to drive people apart.
While you don’t need this agreement to separate, the benefits of creating one are that it provides clear navigation in regards to what this process looks like and will typically be a much faster and less expensive alternative as opposed to settling issues by going to court.
Is a separation agreement legally recognized?
Most courts will recognize separation agreements as long as they are fair, reasonable, and properly executed.
With this in mind, if a separation agreement is not completed properly or the terms set out in the agreement are plainly unfair, lack full financial disclosure, or are not in the best interests of any children involved, then the court may refuse the separation agreement.
Can I complete a separation agreement on my own?
The short answer is yes. A separation agreement can be completed on your own without a lawyer involved.
While this may seem easiest at first, it is important to remember that each separation is unique, which could add additional layers of complexity to the agreement. If not completed properly, there are several risks involved:
- The agreement may not be recognized due to certain factors such as the lack of full disclosure of assets and liabilities
- The agreement may fail to cover certain issues due to a lack of legal knowledge
The best way to ensure peace of mind when creating a separation agreement would be to seek out the counsel of a family lawyer, as they would be able to spot intricacies and inconsistencies that may be missed when creating an agreement on your own. This can potentially save you further stress and excessive litigation fees down the road should the agreement not hold up or have missed crucial components.
Even if you plan to develop a separation agreement on your own, it is still recommended that both parties seek out legal counsel prior to signing an agreement.
If you’re facing a separation, reach out to our team of expert family lawyers. They can help you review or develop a separation agreement that ensures that all of your bases are covered so you can move forward with peace of mind.