If you and your spouse have decided to try legal separation instead of, or prior to getting a divorce, it’s important that you work with a divorce attorney to create a legal and binding separation agreement. This agreement will offer you legal protection should your spouse violate the agreement you have come to.
CONTAINED IN THE LEGAL SEPARATION AGREEMENT
There are numerous things that should be contained in your separation agreement, including the following (if they apply):
Spousal Support -Who will be paying whom? How does this impact taxes?
Benefits – Legal separation allows you to retain certain benefits gained during a marriage, such as health insurance.
Home – Outline who will pay for the home mortgage, as well as the maintenance of the home, such as utilities and lawn care. You should clearly define who is able to live in the home.
Joint Accounts – This includes: joint checking, savings, and credit accounts. You might also choose to freeze these accounts or close them and open separate accounts. You should make it clear who pays what account.
Protection from Acquired Debt – A legal separation agreement should also outline any debt in order to shield you from being held responsible for debt acquired during the separation.
WORKING WITH A DIVORCE ATTORNEY
Because laws vary by state you’ll want to work with an attorney when drafting this agreement. Your attorney will be able to advise you on your legal rights regarding all the aspects of a marriage and legal separation.
Source: About Relationships.com, The Financial Benefits of a Legal Separation Agreement, 2014
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