Definition of Separation Agreement

Couples who wish to formalize their separation can create a separation agreement. A separation agreement is the legal document which outlines how separation issues will be handled if the couple decides to physically reside in separate locations but wants to remain married. Separation agreements can be customized by the couples, but generally contain directions for how child support payments, spousal maintenance payments, division of marital property, debt payments, child custody arrangements and child care issues will be handled while separated.

State laws for separation vary. In fact, some states do not recognize separation as a legal arrangement. If this is true for your state you may be able to ask the court for an interim order which can be used by you and your spouse to decide how separation issues may be handled. Before creating a separation agreement, however, it is important to understand that if you and your spouse do decide to eventually get a divorce the court may use your separation agreement as an outline for your impending divorce. For this reason it is always a good idea to talk to a divorce lawyer prior to creating any type of settlement agreement to ensure your interests are protected during and after a separation.

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