Legal separation is a process similar to divorce that allows couples the option to resume their marriage. Though separation is not a formal dissolution of marriage, it is still important to work with a skilled separation agreement attorney before submitting any contracts to the court.
If you are attempting to negotiate with your spouse on issues such as asset division or child custody, consider retaining a lawyer who is familiar with the process of drafting a separation agreement in New Haven. A legal professional at our firm can work with two parties to develop an agreement that addresses important marital issues.
Spouses who are unsure if they want to end their marriage but need time to consider the impact of divorce may opt to pursue a legal separation. Through this process, couples can contemplate marital dissolution while continuing to enjoy some of the same legal rights they would if they were married.
Though it may seem less final than dissolution, the process of drafting and filing a separation agreement is similar to that of a divorce settlement. Spouses must decide how they wish to divide assets and discuss spousal support, and parenting plans.
When drafting a separating agreement, spouses should meet with a lawyer to discuss the distribution of marital assets. In these negotiation sessions, spouses can address joint bank accounts, shared property, debts, and the profits of any shared businesses. It is important to have legal counsel throughout this process to make sure the terms of the separation agreement are equitable.
A legal separation agreement can address spousal support, or alimony, which is intended to equalize the two parties’ incomes for a certain number of years. Spouses can agree on an amount of money to be paid by one party to the other for a period of time. Those who are financially dependent on their spouses should speak to a local attorney about requesting spousal support payments when drafting a legal separation agreement.
If the divorcing couple has shared children, they might need to develop a parenting plan that addresses child custody and any support payments. Parents must first determine whether joint or sole custody is best for the child. If two spouses agree to share custody, they must decide where the child will primarily reside. Additionally, parents should discuss a visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent.
The custodial parent may also request child support payments which will stay in place until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school. All custody and support agreements are subject to court approval, so parents should retain an attorney to draft a separation that adheres to state laws.
All separation agreements must be approved by the court to be legally recognized. Once the contract has been drafted and filed, a judge will determine if the terms are fair and equitable. Separation agreements are binding once approved by the court, but they can be altered in certain situations.
If one party believes there is an inherent term or section in the separation agreement that does not correctly reflect their needs, they can file a motion to modify within a specific number of days after the initial entry. Following this motion, a judge may decide whether to grant permission to open the judgment.
After that period, anyone who wishes to alter the agreement must demonstrate there has been a substantial change in circumstances to justify a modification. It is important to note, however, that some terms cannot be modified.
If one party waived alimony, they cannot request spousal support in the future. A nearby lawyer can assist separated spouses in the process of modifying their agreement.
Though it is not required to hire a lawyer, retaining legal counsel to draft your separation agreement can improve your chances of reaching a favorable and equitable outcome in your case. Our team can work with you to make sure the terms agreed to represent your needs and best interest. Call our office today and hire an attorney who can guide you through the process of drafting a separation agreement in New Haven.