Every couple enters a marriage expecting it to last. However, challenges may arise that spouses cannot overcome. Differing life goals, career changes, and family conflicts can all lead to marital separation.
Although no longer wanting to live together, spouses may wish to remain married to one another, particularly if children are involved. Fortunately, a skilled marital agreements attorney is available in these situations. A Guilford separation agreements lawyer can help parties outline how they will manage their legal rights and responsibilities to each other and their children while they live apart.
A separation agreement is a written document that addresses matters such as asset and debt division, alimony, custody, child support, inheritance rights, life insurance obligations, and tax consequences. The separation agreement is submitted to a family judge who must approve of the agreement upon a finding that it is fair and equitable and in the best interests of the parties’ children. Once approved the agreement becomes a binding court order.
Separation agreements offer spouses an alternative to seeking a divorce where they are not ready to completely and permanently cut ties from their spouse. If either party later determines that they want to proceed with the divorce, the parties can motion the court to convert their legal separation into a dissolution of marriage and incorporate the separation agreement into the divorce judgment. As a skilled lawyer in Guilford could further explain, this is a necessary step if at any point either party of a separation contract decides they want to remarry.
A separation contract can confirm a couple’s intention to live separately, whether for a specified time or indefinitely. The document also allows spouses to outline the terms of their separation, including but not limited to:
Parties can also utilize a separation contract to dictate how to manage the property they acquire after living apart. For example, if one spouse purchases a new vehicle post-separation, the document can define whether that vehicle remains the purchasing spouse’s property or becomes part of the marital estate subject to division if the parties divorce.
To ensure the enforceability of a separation agreement, each party must enter it voluntarily and without undue pressure from the other. Additionally, both parties must fully disclose their financial circumstances before signing the contract. If one party hides or misrepresents relevant financial information, a court may deem the agreement invalid under Connecticut law.
If one party breaches the agreement’s terms, the other party and their Guilford counsel can file a motion for contempt and seek enforcement of the separation agreement. Upon a finding of willful contempt, the Court has the authority to award the aggrieved party monetary damages and attorney’s fees. For instance, if one spouse failed to pay the mortgage on the family home per the contract, the other party may seek compensation for interest or late charges caused by the nonpayment.
Sometimes married couples simply need a break to assess their relationship. Other times, however, they may decide to divorce and need to define their legal obligations to each other and their children. In either situation, it is critical to seek counsel to protect your legal rights.
A caring Guilford separation agreements lawyer understands the legal and emotional complexities couples face when they decide to separate. We are experienced in drafting and enforcing separation agreements and are available to assist you. Get in touch with our office today to schedule your consultation.