Married couples sometimes decide to separate, either in anticipation of getting divorced or simply to have some space while they try to reconcile any marital issues they may be experiencing. State law allows couples to stay married while entering into a contract to govern their financial matters. Separation agreements can help a couple resolve their marital problems in an amicable and cost-effective way and remove financial pressure while working through relationship issues.
A separation agreement or marital contract can help avoid or postpone divorce by setting new limits or ground rules to a relationship that isn’t working under the current or former circumstances. If you are interested in this type of arrangement, you need a creative and outside-the-box type of attorney to be your advocate. They must truly understand your goals and the relationship issues that have taken place prior to now to draft the best separation agreement for you.
Your separation agreement is a private contract between the two of you, and it can govern any area within your relationship that you would like. It does not get filed in court and is not subject to review by anyone. You are entering into a binding contract between you and your spouse.
Legal Grounds for Separation
A private marital agreement for a separation is not the same thing as a legal separation. While a private contract between spouses leaves your marriage wholly intact, a legal separation provides more legal protection with regards to third parties. While a spouse files a petition for legal separation and serves that petition, the laws of community property are suspended. That is not the case when entering into a private separation agreement between the spouses.
To file for a legal separation, the process you are entering is similar to the process of filing for divorce, but there are a few key differences. To file for divorce you must have lived in the state for the previous 90 days. You can avoid the residency requirements if you have just moved to Arizona by filing a petition for legal separation.
Most married couples want to avoid divorce if at all possible, and many separate several times prior to filing for divorce or legal separation. A separation agreement is a fantastic option to provide legal protection while you work through the issues within your marriage. A Scottsdale separation agreement attorney could help you choose the legal path that best fits your needs.
Another option anyone seeking an alternative to divorce may want to consider is pursuing a trial separation. This involves the spouses living separately while they evaluate all their options without court intervention. Following a trial separation, a couple may reconcile, pursue a legal separation with a formal agreement, or dissolve their marriage.
Terms of a Legal Separation Contract
The main difference between private separation agreements and divorce is that the latter is a permanent court order. A private separation agreement, by contrast, leaves your marriage legally intact but provides new ground rules of operation within the marriage in regards to financial and children’s issues.
Child Custody & Support
Parents who want to live apart must decide on where their children will live as well as how decisions will be made for them and how the responsibilities will be divided between parents. If the agreement is submitted to a judge for approval, the court must agree that the arrangement is in the children’s best interests. Your agreement should also provide the details for how financial support of your children will be handled.
Division of Assets
A couple who wants to separate would need to define how they wish to divide their marital property and how they will treat property accumulated in the future. For example, if your partner decides to move out of your shared home, it may be necessary to discuss financial obligations so you aren’t left with huge bills to pay for on your own.
If one spouse does not work or cannot adequately support themselves right away, the agreement will likely have to address the issue of spousal maintenance. A knowledgeable separation contract lawyer in Scottsdale could help you identify important terms to include in your agreement
Get in Touch with a Scottsdale Separation Agreements Attorney Today
Legal separation is an arrangement in which a couple stays married but lives separately, pursuant to a court order. That being said, filing for separation can be just as complicated as filing for divorce – depending on the circumstances. You should call a Scottsdale separation agreements lawyer today to learn more about the requirements for obtaining a legally binding contract.