A separation agreement is a written agreement signed by two parties either during or after the separation process. A separation agreement typically is a settlement of some or all of the issues part of the divorce that may follow that separation and can include resolution of property rights, debts, spousal support, child support, custody and visitation, and a handful of other issues.
It is important any person who is considering entering a separation agreement first understand what their rights would be without such an agreement in place. Thus, a Fairfax separation agreement lawyer would give the party looking to enter into a separation agreement a good idea of their rights upon leaving the marriage. These rights would include property rights and support rights and may include rights relating to custody and child support. Such information is necessary for an individual to determine whether or not a separation agreement is in their best interest. To discuss filing an agreement or get started consult with a family law attorney today.
Separation Agreement vs. Divorce Agreement
There is not much of a difference between a separation and a divorce agreement. This form of agreement can take a number of names and may be referred to as a separation agreement, divorce agreement, or property and support settlement agreement. However, each of these terms refers to the same document, which is an agreement between two parties resolving some or all of the issues that arise during a divorce.
Separation agreements can address a number of issues, including division of property, allotment of marital debt, and payment or waiver of spousal support. Settlement agreements can also include agreements regarding custody, visitation, and child support. It is important to note that agreements relating to minor children are only enforceable if the court reviews these agreements and is comfortable with the parameters set forth within them. In this way, no agreements regarding custody, visitation, or child support are binding without the approval of the court. However, in almost all cases, the court will approve such provisions.
Modifying a Separation Agreement
The terms of a settlement agreement are binding on the parties and cannot be modified by the court, except as those terms relate to minor children. For example, custody and visitation parameters can be modified after the separation agreement has been executed, depending on the best interests of the children. Similarly, child support can always be modified for so long as the children are minors and support is payable.
Additionally, should the parties address spousal support in a settlement agreement and specifically state in the agreement that the court shall retain jurisdiction to modify it, then the court may have the ability to modify spousal support as well. However, this ability is dependent upon the parameters set forth by the parties in the separation agreement.
A separation agreement is valid until the parties, with the help of a Fairfax separation agreement attorney, enter into a later agreement that supersedes the original agreement. Typically, when family law attorneys draft settlement agreements, they include language that is very specific, indicating the terms of the agreement cannot be modified unless the modification is done in writing and with signatures, in order to avoid future confusion.
Benefits of a Separation Agreement
A separation agreement outlines the rights of both parties in a separation. Such clarity can reduce future costs, time, and stress in the event of a divorce. For example, if the parties execute a separation agreement that resolves the manner in which certain financial assets will be divided, this matter will not need to be resolved during the divorce process.
Moreover, a separation agreement may prevent each party from taking certain actions that would adversely affect the other party. For instance, a separation agreement may prevent a party from being able to move money between accounts in order to protect the rights of the other party.
This resolution can provide a sense of security to both parties, allowing them to plan for their respective futures in the midst of a very difficult time in their lives, and an experienced Fairfax separation agreement attorney will be able to help to mitigate the pressures of this time. Consult a skilled attorney for all of your separation agreement considerations in Fairfax today.