Why a Separation Agreement?

Although a legal separation and divorce have many things in common there are some advantages to separating, at least for a period of time, rather than immediately divorcing. Those advantages include:

  1. It allows couples space and time apart to reflect on the conflicts that are leading to a decision to dissolve the marriage. 
  2. If a primary source of conflict is addiction, a separation will help couples to honestly gauge the possibility of extensive intervention and therapy as an option that would open up possibility for reconciliation. 
  3. It allows for the retention of medical benefits and certain other benefits that divorce would bring to an end.
  4. 10 years of marriage entitle you to certain military and social security benefits.
  5. In the event that you choose to move ahead with divorce, the existing agreement will be incorporated directly into the divorce decree, saving you the drain and expense of the family court system. 

***There are domestic circumstances where no intermediary measures are advisable, e.g. abuse***

A legal Separation Agreement will offer other securities on a pragmatic level:

  1. If you own a home together, have children, joint bank accounts and other financial interests in both names it makes sense to protect yourself financially while living apart.  Expenses once paid jointly will be divided between the parties in accordance with their relative income and incorporated into the Separation Agreement.
  2. If you don’t trust your spouse to live up to verbal agreements.  A legal Separation Agreement is binding, you are protected from verbal agreements and promises that are not honored.
  3. If you have children and want child support. You can’t enforce the payment of child support without a legal court order.  Child support can be calculated according to your state's child support guidelines or through an agreement you arrive at with a financial advisor or mediator. This same protection applies to visitation and custody rights.
  4. If you are a non-working spouse and have a need for spousal support. Once again, this can’t be enforced without a legal court order, you will need a legal Separation Agreement to define how much support will be paid .
  5. You need to take into consideration issues such as health insurance, after a divorce is finalized it will no longer be possible to maintain a joint policy. Who will maintain coverage, who will be covered and, who will pay out of pocket expenses if a child or either spouse becomes ill?
  6. Dating and cohabitation issues. You can legally either allow or prohibit what you and your partner deem to be appropriate social behavior based on the best interests of your child(ren).

*****Again, there circumstances where NO measures other than immediate evacuation are advisable, e.g. abuse*****