If you’re considering a legal separation, whether as a trial run for divorce or a temporary status before marriage dissolution, it helps to be clear about how you’ll handle finances, property and children during the separation period. A separation agreement makes that possible, by clearly defining the terms.
A separation agreement can address almost any issue that might come up during a separation, such as who gets ownership of personal property, how joint debts will be paid (including whether they’ll be repaid in full or in part through instalments, with interest), who stays in the family home and who pays for utilities and insurance. It can also include a plan for when the property will be sold, and an agreement on how to collect personal items and care for any that remain afterward.
Spousal support, child custody and visitation rights, and name change issues can also be settled with a separation agreement. It’s important for couples to assess their own financial situations and seek independent legal advice before writing their agreement.
A separation agreement can be amended if circumstances change, but the original terms are often reflected in final divorce documents. It’s essential to review the document thoroughly and ensure it includes all the necessary information to avoid confusion and misunderstandings down the road. The agreement should also state that both parties made a full disclosure of assets and liabilities. This is important to show that neither party was coerced or made an uninformed decision about the terms of their separation. separation agreements