A separation agreement is a legal document acknowledged and endorsed by a husband and wife to verify that they consent to the division of marital assets and debts, as well as any other issues exclusive to their marriage. If there were any children born during the marriage, the agreement may also address temporary child support, custody and visitation. An endorsed agreement does not equal a divorce, but it can be incorporated into a final divorce order.
During a legal separation, a husband and wife are still legally married while living separate and apart. This can be a beneficial arrangement for those wishing to work out issues within their marriage without ending it. During the legal separation, the endorsed separation agreement depicts the temporary arrangement and responsibilities of each spouse. This allows for complete understanding by both spouses on what is expected during the separation, such as who pays which joint bills and what amount of monetary support is expected for a spouse or children.
How Can An Experienced Family Law Attorney Help?
It is best for the husband and wife to each retain their own attorneys during a legal separation and especially when drawing up an agreement. A separation attorney will be able to disclose all legal options available and protect his or her client's interests throughout the process of drafting and negotiating terms of the separation agreement. It is also helpful to have an attorney involved when open communication between spouses is difficult or non-existent. If the couple decide to file for a divorce, the separation attorney can expand their legal services to assist his or her client through the divorce process.