Deciding to divorce is never easy, and many couples want to try a period of separation before committing to splitting up for good. When couples intend to live apart for a length of time without divorcing, they have the option of creating a separation agreement to cement the terms of their arrangement.
If you and your spouse are thinking of or already pursuing a legal separation, seeking assistance from a knowledgeable family law attorney should be the first step you take. A Forsyth County separation agreement lawyer can help you create a family law contract that provides for your family’s needs.
A separation agreement is not a divorce and does not end a couple’s marriage. However, the law does allow couples to file a separation agreement and an action for separate maintenance. A separate maintenance case can resolve issues like alimony, child support and custody, while allowing couples to remain legally married.
Couples are also not required to create a separation agreement before they can get a divorce—in fact, the majority of divorcing parties file for divorce directly without a separation first. However, separation agreements may make an eventual divorce easier by determining the terms ahead of time.
A separation agreement will usually state that the parties are no longer engaging in marital relations, live separately, and intend to get a divorce eventually. The couple is not required to divorce and can choose to reconcile at any time, or they can choose to continue to live separately for as long as they want.
Several factors often motivate couples who choose to separate rather than divorce. The parties may face a cultural or religious stigma if they divorce and would prefer to remain legally married, or they may be hoping to reconcile and need the freedom to live separately to rebuild their relationship.
Finally, a couple may choose to remain married so that one partner receives a benefit from the other, like health insurance coverage or retirement benefits. Whatever an individual couple’s needs are, a Forsyth County family law attorney could help them draft a separation agreement that meets each one.
Because separation agreements apply to married couples who will be living apart from each other, the contract must cover several issues. These issues can include who will live in the marital home and who will move out, who will be responsible for paying certain bills like the mortgage or the car payments, and what property the person who is leaving the marital home can take with them.
Unlike a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, a separation agreement can also determine issues of child support and child custody. As they would during a divorce, parents who are separating must create a custody agreement and visitation schedule as well as calculate an appropriate amount of child support. One spouse may also agree to give the other a monthly maintenance payment to help cover household bills.
Parties to a separation agreement can create whatever reasonable terms they wish to govern their new lives. For that reason, it is often essential to create these marital contracts with the help of an experienced separation agreements lawyer in Forsyth County.
The stress of a struggling relationship can often feel overwhelming. If you need time apart from your spouse, a separation agreement may help you regroup and revive your marriage. To schedule a confidential consultation, contact a Forsyth County separation agreement lawyer today.