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Purpose of a Separation or Marital Settlement Agreement
When a married couple cannot get along and agree to live separately, it is best for them to have a legal separation agreement or a settlement agreement. This document spells out a resolution for sharing their household and personal belongings in a fair, objective manner. Assisted by an attorney, the couple can decide how to divide up their belongings and share child custody, if kids are involved, in everyone’s best interests. Although some couples believe they can make a verbal agreement for this purpose, chances are it will soon break down since, after all, the couple’s inability to get along is presumably why they are separating. Here are other reasons to have a marital settlement agreement.
An unbiased third party arbitrates the process
In cases where the couple cannot agree, an attorney, magistrate, or judge can help to coordinate the process to ensure a timely resolution that keeps things balanced.
A written legal document becomes permanent and binding
A legal agreement that is filed as part of the couple’s permanent record will serve to remind both of them of the original agreement if they should argue in the future about possessions or children. If the couple bicker over prior agreement or the settlement, the document serves as an accurate reminder of what actually transpired, and the couple must abide by it unless they go to court to challenge the terms.
The settlement provides closure
Instead of ongoing contention about dissolution of the household and distributing the family assets, the matter will be handled once and for all in a legal document. When settled, the couple can no longer argue over these matters in any substantial way without going back to court. Hopefully that part of their former union will be settled forever, and they will cease arguing over it.
An agreement lays the foundation for civil interactions
With assets divided and child custody issues resolved, the couple can choose to maintain a civil or even amicable relationship for their children’s sake, unless they choose to avoid all contact whatsoever. Either way, they will no longer have to deal with the stress of conflict based on their prior relationship and the division of assets that can drive a deeper wedge between couples.
Most couples are grateful for the support of a marital settlement that helps them objectively address the practical issues of separation and divorce. An attorney can provide helpful advice, contact our firm today to get started.