What a Separation Agreement Entails
If you’ve been living apart from your spouse and you’re on your way toward obtaining a divorce, you may want to think about a separation agreement. Over 30,000 divorces occur every year in Pennsylvania, many of which may have likely progressed without much issue because of a separation agreement. While not every separated couple is able to make this type of agreement, it could benefit you and your situation in a variety of ways.
What Is a Separation Agreement?
Although a separation agreement can be created before or after you file for a divorce, it’s commonly written up before the divorce occurs. This agreement is a written contract between both spouses that determines how property is going to be divided, how custody or alimony is to be arranged, and what your rights are. This type of agreement is legally binding and can be used once you file for an actual divorce. This contract serves as an agreement to all of the issues that can typically cause a divorce case to be a lengthy one. It is usually made after the two spouses have been separated for a lengthy period of time.
Since each spouse must agree on every single detail of the separation agreement, both parties will need to sign the document before it is considered to be binding. While the issues mentioned previously are the primary ones that must be detailed in a separation agreement, spouses can place anything they want into the agreement. For instance, some people choose to address such issues as what religion any children will formally practice or how any family pets will be taken care of. People choose to place these issues into a separation agreement now so that one spouse can’t change his or her mind later on. If one party attempts to do the opposite of what was agreed upon, the separation agreement serves as a legal document that may be useful.
How a Separation Agreement Can Help With Uncontested Divorce
Uncontested divorces are ones where you and your spouse have agreed to all of the particulars of a divorce, including custody time and the division of property. A separation agreement effectively turns your divorce into an uncontested one. Spouses who make these agreements before going to court are usually able to avoid having to eventually go to court to contest the divorce. The separation agreement that you fill out along with the other divorce paperwork will need to be agreed to by a judge.
The only instances where a judge will not abide by the separation agreement are when he or she believes that one party signed the document when under duress or he or she feels as though the terms are entirely unfair to one of the spouses. The exact process that occurs with an uncontested divorce depends on the specific details of the case. The process is simplified when there are no children involved or the assets that must be divided are small.
How a Lawyer Can Assist You With a Separation Agreement
Even though a lawyer is not always necessary for a separation agreement, there are a variety of ways in which a lawyer like ours could help you with your case. Lawyers who have experience in divorce law understand all of the facets of a separation agreement, which means that you can be counseled on these matters if ever necessary. Our lawyer can provide you with all of the information you require about a separation agreement as well as an uncontested divorce.
While the willingness of two parties to sign a separation agreement is a positive step in regard to the divorce process, it’s also a complex one that may require close attention by a lawyer who understands Pennsylvania law. Given the legal rights involved in a separation agreement, you may want to seek out our attorney to help you throughout the process. Sending us information about your case will allow us to identify what options are available to you.