Divorce & Separation Agreements

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Divorce and Separation Agreements

If you are contemplating divorce, or if you have recently separated, you are at a critical crossroads in your life. This is often a time of emotional turmoil and confusion, and it can be difficult to make sound decisions. It’s important to consult with a qualified attorney early in the process about the legal and practical issues involved in separation. With the right attorney at your side, you’ll be able to navigate this challenging transition and build a solid foundation for the next phase of your life.

There are four main areas that you should discuss with your attorney: dividing property and debts (Equitable Distribution), spousal support (post-separation support and alimony), and, if children are involved, child custody and child support. You may need to address short-term financial issues like payment of joint debt, and covering expenses in two households, and making sure children’s support and emotional needs are met. You may want help deciding who will remain in the marital home.

With the help of attorneys and/or a mediator, many separating couples can resolve most or all of these issues by agreement. Increasingly, many couples are choosing the Collaborative Divorce process to find common ground with less acrimony and lower legal expenses. Regardless of the process you choose, after an agreement is reached, the details are included in a Separation Agreement and Property Settlement, a legally-binding private

contract, or in a Consent Order, a court order that is entered by agreement of the parties without a court hearing or trial. It is critical to get legal advice before signing a Separation Agreement or a Consent Order. Important legal rights and obligations are addressed in these documents, and a qualified attorney will help you decide what terms are appropriate and necessary for your circumstances.

Sometimes, resolving these issues by agreement is not possible, and going to court is necessary. We will discuss all of your options for resolving your family law issue so that you can make a decision that is right for your situation.

While you can resolve property, support, and custody issues by agreement prior to obtaining a divorce, you cannot be divorced until you have been separated for one full year. Before filing a divorce action on your own, or upon receiving a complaint for divorce filed by your spouse, you should consult with an attorney about your rights. Important legal claims are waived if they are not addressed before the absolute divorce is granted.

Our clients often say they feel more reassured after their initial consultation. Separating is stressful, but having an understanding of the law, knowing what to expect from the process, and having the right attorney on your side helps. Call us to schedule your consultation today.

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