If you do not want a divorce, but want to live separately, you and your spouse may enter into a written separation agreement. Separation agreements are not divorce agreements. A separation agreement is an agreement wherein you and your spouse can separate, without involving the court for a period of time, often as an attempt to repair an ailing marriage or to give you enough time and space to consider if divorce is the right option.
In a separation agreement, you may reach an agreement on issues such as spousal and child support, health insurance, visitation and custody, and decision making with regard to issues that affect children such as care and education. After living apart for a year under the terms of a separation agreement, you or your spouse may seek to convert the agreement into a divorce.
While you may make generous provisions for children in a separation agreement and try to decide custody and visitation issues, you may not limit or avoid your obligations to support your minor children. You should remember that the issues of custody, visitation and support of children are always before the court for consideration and can be challenged whenever the circumstances require a modification.
Either spouse can challenge the terms of a separation agreement if there had been dishonesty or fraud, coercion or duress, or if the performance of the agreement becomes unfair or inequitable.
When considering a separation agreement, it is advisable to speak with an attorney to make sure that the agreement protects your interest. If this is a step you are considering, schedule an initial consult today, or call us today to speak to an attorney.