If you and your spouse are considering legal separation, contact Tucker, Nong and Associates immediately. Our highly qualified and experienced lawyers can design a separation agreement that protects your best interests so that you are not taken advantage of during separation.
If your spouse has hired an attorney to draft a separation agreement, let one of our qualified lawyers review the agreement to make sure that your rights are protected.
Regardless of your position, you should never sign a separation agreement without first consulting with your own personal lawyer.
What is a Separation Agreement
In a divorce case, you and your spouse may decide to create and sign an agreement that outlines how to manage certain elements of your relationship. This agreement is commonly referred to as a “separation agreement”. In some situations, a separation agreement can be a legally binding contract between you and your spouse. In other situations, it is not a legally binding agreement until it is approved by a judge and is included in a divorce judgement. Because the elements of a separation agreement can vary depending on the situation, you should always consult with a qualified divorce lawyer before signing a separation agreement.
How to Use a Separation Agreement
Separation agreements can be used in several ways. Some more common uses of a separation agreement includes:
- Assigning spousal support/alimony payments.
- Assigning child support payments.
- Outlining child custody.
- Outlining child visitation.
- Deciding allocation of personal property
- Assigning responsibility for debt payments
- Deciding how to manage tax payments.
- Deciding who maintains control of the family home.
- Outlining conditions for protective orders.
- Other conditions as needed.
It is important to remember that a separation is only valid if both spouses mutually agree to it, or it is enforced by a judge.
Types of Separation
People often confuse the definition of “separation”. In legal terms, there are four types of separation. It is important to understand the different classifications of separation as they can affect property ownership.
A trial separation is when a couple lives apart for a test period in order to decide if they should separate permanently. Any assets acquired or debts accumulated during this test period are considered marital property.
Spouses who live in separate dwellings are considered to be living apart. In some states, if a couple lives separately without any intention of reuniting, each spouse’s property rights can be affected. It is important to speak with a legal professional to understand the laws in your area.
If a couple decides to part ways permanently, it is commonly referred to as “permanent separation”. Oftentimes, permanent separation follows trial separation. In most states, any assets received or debts accumulated by either spouse are considered to be personal responsibilities and are not considered marital property. In some cases, permanent separation may not be considered a legal separation. To understand the specifics of permanent separation in your area, speak with a licensed divorce lawyer.
A legal separation only occurs when the parties have separated and the court has made an official decision on:
- The division of property
- Alimony/spousal support
- Child support payments.
- Child custody and visitation.
It is important to remember that a legal separation is not a divorce. These situations are not very common, but there are certain situations when spouses have decided not to pursue a full divorce for religious, financial or even personal reasons. However, with legal separation, a court order is issued which declares that the couple is separated and residing at different addresses.
Do You Find Yourself In Need Of A Family Lawyer In Virginia, Maryland Or Washington D.C.?
If you find yourself considering divorce or need to fight for custody of your children you need to speak with an experineced family law attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Vienna, Virgnia office directly at 703.991.7978 or our Rockville, Maryland office at 301.637.5392 to schedule your case consultation.