Be Sure to Get Your Separation Agreement in Writing
If you and your spouse decide you will legally separate, even if the intent is just to take a temporary break from the relationship, it is important to get some terms of the separation in writing. Keep in mind that all the same legal rules apply during your separation as during your marriage with regard to property ownership. Any money you earn and property you buy would likely be considered the property of both you and your spouse.
A written separation agreement provides clear standards you can point to in case you need to go to court. It prevents one spouse from taking advantage of the other during the separation, and acting in an unfair manner.
Below are a few examples of some of the stipulations you may want to include in a written separation agreement:
- Joint accounts: Include whether or not you will continue sharing joint credit cards, bank accounts or any other financial accounts.
- Spending: Develop agreements about how you will budget your expenses, including both general spending and regular monthly expenses.
- Living situation: Include who will live in the family home and where the other spouse will live during the separation.
- Children: If you have children, include information about where the children will live and when and how each parent will be able to spend time with the children. Be sure also to include information about parenting responsibilities, including who takes the children to and from school and activities, who pays for school and activity expenses and other such information.
- Expiration: If you wish, you can include a stipulation that puts an expiration date on the agreement. That gives you a time frame for making a decision about the future of your relationship. If you wish, you can always develop a new agreement after that date.
- Signatures: Both of you should sign and date the agreement to make it official.
For more information related to separation agreements, consult a knowledgeable family law attorney with Bryan L. Salamone & Associates.