A separation is a tool utilized by couples who are not sure about where their relationship is heading. The relationship may need a pause, in order for the couple to determine if they will work out their issues or proceed with a divorce. A separation however, is not permanent, whereas a divorce is the legal ending of the relationship.
A separation is much like a divorce in many ways; however, one of the ways it is NOT like a divorce is that both parties often come to an agreement called a “separation agreement.” This agreement outlines everything from custody, visitation, and who pays what bills and the duration of the separation. This is just as important as a divorce agreement because both parties will be legally bound to abide by the terms of the agreement. If the couple decides to proceed with a divorce, often times the courts will simply transfer the terms of the separation agreement to a divorce agreement. This is why it is very important to be happy with the terms of the separation agreement.
Mutual or Not?
If the separation is mutual, these terms are often worked out even before the paperwork is filed. If the separation is not mutual, then the party wanting the separation must serve the other partner, who will then have time to file a response. If the terms of the separation cannot be reached, or mediation cannot come to a resolution, then the courts will decide and file the separation in the court’s records.
When considering debts and payments, such as a mortgage payment, then the court will assess the income of each party and their ability to make the payment. The court will consider who will be residing in the home, whether or not the children are residing in the home, etc. just as they would for a divorce proceeding.
Contact an attorney
When deciding between a separation or a divorce, you may want to consult an experienced attorney to ensure your interests are protected. Since the terms of the separation agreement are often simply transferred in a divorce, you want to make sure that you get the best terms possible for you and your future. Contact Ronald L. Kossack, a Tempe family attorney, to discuss your legal matters. You can contact us online or by calling 480-345-2652.