The stress and emotional weight that a divorce carries can often lead people to get caught up in their own distress, and this can lead to poor decision making. During the divorce process, it's important to take good care of yourself by paying attention to your feelings and by seeking therapy when needed. It's also important to take care of your financial life. Mistakes made now can impact you and your family's lives for a very long time. Read on to learn more about the importance of planning ahead and creating a legal separation agreement.
Why have a legal separation agreement?
Many people don't really give much thought to the time period between your separation and the final decree, but they should. You can create an agreement that will not only smooth the way forward toward the final decree, but that will also help facilitate your entire divorce process. In fact, almost every aspect of the actual divorce can be addressed with a legal separation agreement, and anything you agree on now can be folded into the final decree. Don't wait for your final paperwork to be signed by the judge to take advantage of provisions that can address spousal support (alimony), your children, and more. Use a legal separation agreement to address these issues and more.
Your children: If it pertains to minor children, you can address it in a legal separation agreement. Take some time to make some decisions about important issues that involve your children now; the atmosphere is sure to be more relaxed when you both know that the arrangements you make are only temporary. If the arrangements work well, they can become more permanent. A legal separation agreement is legally enforceable, so be sure to make arrangements that you can abide by. You should consider the following:
- Ask for and have an order for child support.
- Decide on who will have primary custody during the separation period.
- Create a visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent.
Spousal support: You can ask for and have ordered spousal support during the separation period.
Debts: If you and your spouse share joint debts, it's best to address this issue sooner rather than later. You don't want to find yourself in the position of having to pay for your spouse's bachelor's pad, do you? If he uses a joint card to pay for that big screen television during your separation period, you might just have to pay 50% of that debt. It's better to place a virtual "line in the sand" for your spending by addressing this issue in the separation agreement.
Speak to your family law attorney to learn more about the benefits of a legal separation agreement.