Q: What is a Separation Agreement?
A: A Separation Agreement is a written agreement between spouses that will be binding on both parties. The agreement most often settles one or more of the issues regarding the dissolution of the marriage. Typical issues include, child custody and support, alimony and the division of the marital property and debts.
Q: Can I prepare a separation agreement myself?
A: It is possible for the parties to draft their own binding separation agreement as long as it is in writing, signed and notarized by the parties, and is not otherwise in violation of any laws, it will be binding. However, it is best to seek counsel to draft the agreement to make sure that it is valid and binding. In addition, counsel can advise you about your rights and responsibilities so that you can make an informed decision about any settlement.
Q: Can I settle some issues but not others in a Separation Agreement?
A: Yes. Although ideally you would want to resolve all issues in the Separation Agreement if possible, you can reach an agreement on some issues and proceed to trial on others. For example, it may be easy to reach an agreement on the division of assets and debts while you may need a judge to determine custody and visitation.
Q: Is it worth spending the money on a Separation Agreement?
A: If you think you and your spouse can agree on the issues involved, then a Separation Agreement will be much less expensive and more expedient than court proceedings. A Separation Agreement also allows you and your spouse to make the decisions affecting the dissolution of your marriage rather than a third party.