Separate Lives: 5 Ways to Manage a Separation Agreement

You and your spouse decide to end the marriage and decide to settle matters through a separation agreement.

While both of you will be the ones making the decisions, sometimes the process does not go as smooth as you want it to. In these instances, representation is helpful and recommended. The following are 5 ways an attorney can help you with a separation agreement.

1. Experience

The separation agreement that you consent to with your spouse will dictate how your future will look like for years to come. Therefore, you need effective representation that will ensure you get what you need out of the agreement.

The attorney you hire will be helpful during the drafting of your separation agreement. He/she has experience with such matters and knows the skills and techniques needed to ensure you do not lose out on the separation agreement. While you can participate in the process without an attorney, you will probably not fare as well especially if your spouse has acquired representation.

2. Negotiations

There are many issues that need be ironed out during a separation agreement. Both sides need to be amenable to the terms or the matter will go to court to be decided by a judge.

A lawyer skilled in family law will be someone who can negotiate with your spouse’s attorney, representing your best interests. Issues that need to be negotiated can include spousal support, child custody, access, and support, and division of property. With such serious issues at stake, you need someone who can fight to ensure you get what you want and need in these areas.

3. Protecting your rights

An attempt at a separation agreement is a recommended step as opposed to taking your matter directly to a family court. This is because you are given the opportunity to occupy the driver’s seat with you and your spouse making the decisions regarding your separation. However, there still may be disagreements and you need to make sure your rights are protected.

Hiring a family lawyer will ensure your rights are well represented throughout the composition of the separation agreement. For example, your spouse may attempt to seek an extravagant amount of child or spousal support or attempt for sole custody of your children. An attorney will listen to what you want and ensure your rights, especially as a parent, are respected.

4. Changes

The separation agreement terms that you and your spouse come up with may work for both parties at present. However, circumstances can change at any given time and as such you may have to seek changes to the agreement.

Having a lawyer seek changes to your agreement on your behalf is beneficial especially if you and your spouse are not on the best of terms. There are many situations where changes may need to be made, such as if you are moving, your spouse has obtained a new job and support is not needed, or if your child has medical or educational needs. A lawyer can make the request for a change for you, giving you the best chance of having the agreement revised as intended.

5. Court matters

Separation agreements usually work for both spouses because it is them who composed and agreed to it. However, attorneys may still be required even after both parties consent to the agreement.

A family lawyer is able to sign off on the agreement, ensuring it is legally binding and will be accepted by the court. The lawyer can then file it with the court to ensure it is on the record. If one party violates the agreement, the lawyer can seek to turn it into a court order where the offending spouse can be charged with non-compliance.

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