When considering a divorce, it is essential to know your legal rights. In addition to questions concerning property rights, a legal separation can involve questions about alimony, business ownership, and the allocation of debt. Considering all these issues can make a separation or divorce a complicated and emotional matter. Thankfully, a separation does not need to be contentious. Separation agreements allow parties to compromise and take key decisions out of the hands of the court.
A DC separation agreements lawyer can help craft and implement these arrangements. An attorney can draft your agreement in a way that meets your goals and present it to the court to ensure that it can be fully enforced as a court order.
What Function Does a Separation Agreement Serve?
A divorce or separation can have significant legal implications. Of first concern to many couples is what will happen to their shared or marital property, assets, and debt. According to the Code of the District of Columbia §16-910, courts must make an equitable distribution of this property. If couples enter the divorce process without a marital agreement, the court has broad power to distribute this property as it sees fit. Other key provisions concerning the payment of spousal support or control over a business are also subject to equitable distribution. What the court considers equitable can vary widely depending on the judge.
A separation agreement can help you retain control over this process. A separation agreement is a negotiated settlement that can end in or be enlarged to a divorce. If the parties can agree concerning some or all of their property or debt, the court will accept that agreement and incorporate it into a final divorce decree. Any matter that arises during a divorce is subject to settlement through a separation agreement, including an agreement concerning the custody of children. A DC separation agreements attorney can help you determine how one of these contracts may be able to help.
When Is It Appropriate to Implement a Separation Agreement?
A separation agreement is always wise if the parties live separately and apart, especially to clarify rights to alimony and property. Additionally, a separation agreement may not be necessary if the couple has a valid marital agreement, such as a prenuptial or postnuptial contract.
A separation agreement may shorten and simplify the divorce process. Especially in cases where the couple does not have any children, submitting an agreement along with an initial complaint for divorce can help make the overall process much quicker. In some cases, a couple can divorce with as little as one appearance in court. It is also possible that only one of the parties needs appear in court.
A separation agreement can also be helpful even if only one party takes the preemptive step of requesting a divorce. Much like with any other court case, if opposing sides settle their claims, then the court need not make any decision except to order the parties divorced. A separation agreement can instantly end any dispute if the parties can mutually agree to every outstanding matter. A separation contracts lawyer in Washington DC can help to introduce an agreement to the court during any phase of the process.
A DC Separation Agreements Attorney Can Help
A divorce or separation always raises numerous legal questions. Central among these are how to divide property, who will take on debt, and if either party will receive alimony. Parties who leave these important decisions up to the court are often very dissatisfied. Parties should only let the court decide what will happen to their home or their finances if they cannot agree.
Other couples who are able to find common ground can submit separation, divorce, and property settlement agreements to the court. Agreements help couples settle their claims and avoid the unpredictability of a judge’s decision in a separation or divorce.
A DC separation agreements lawyer can help you enter into effective and legally binding contract. A lawyer can draft a separation agreement in anticipation of filing for divorce or work to negotiate terms after a divorce is already underway. Contact us today to discuss your case.