Separation, Child Custody, Visitation,
Spousal & Child Support, Property Settlement, Prenuptial/Postnuptial & Cohabitation Agreements
You and your spouse agree that it is time to separate and take steps towards ending your marriage. Although this has been a painful and difficult decision for you both, you tend to agree on most of the important issues. Whether you and your spouse have children and own property together, or not, the most cost effective way to peaceably end your marriage and settle your affairs is to come a mutual written and valid agreement.
What legal matters are my spouse and I permitted to settle by agreement?
All matters incident to divorce, such as child support, child custody and visitation, and division of property can be settled by mutual agreement, as long as the agreement is meets certain legal criteria. You should be cautious in executing “form agreements” without first consulting an attorney to advise you on issues that are specific to your particular case. Parties should seek independent legal advice when executing such agreements in the event each party has different rights that may conflict with one another.
What are Separation & Property Settlement Agreements?
Separation agreements are written agreements evidencing the parties’ intention to live separate and apart forever. Parties may include, in a separation agreement, all matters related to child support, custody and visitation; among other issues. Property settlement agreements are written agreements that provide for settlement of the parties’ real or personal property.
When is the best time to execute a separation and/or property settlement agreement? Do I have to wait until we have legally separated or divorced to execute an agreement?
A separation agreement may be executed by parties after separation, or even before actual physical separation, as long as the parties plan to immediately separate thereafter. In other words, separation of the parties must be imminent because if parties do not separate, and execute such an agreement, it will be void. Parties do not have to wait until they are divorced to execute separation and/or property settlement agreements.
In general, parties may enter into a property settlement agreement with one another at any time, before, during, or after the marriage. However, there are some exceptions to this general rule.
What if my spouse fails to abide by the terms of the agreement, how can I enforce the agreement?
These agreements may remain solely among the parties, thus enforceable under general contract law, or they may be “incorporated” into the final judgment of divorce and given the force of a judgment of the court. Consult an attorney to determine which option better suits you and your spouse’s particular case.
Contact our office to make an appointment to discuss your separation, parenting, and/or property settlement agreement.
All legal summaries contained, herein, are intended for educational purposes only and not intended to act as a substitute for personalized legal advice by competent counsel. Although every attempt has been made to provide accurate legal summaries, the law continues to change and the most recent changes to the law may not be reflected herein. Always consult an attorney for up to date and personalized legal advice.