A separation agreement can resolve many issues that are usually brought up in a divorce case, such as property division, child custody, visitation and alimony. The parties in a separation agreement can decide all of these issues themselves without the stress of a lawsuit hanging over their heads. This can help reduce costs and make the end of their marriage much less complicated in the long run.
People choose to separate for a variety of reasons. They might try it out to see if the distance will help them reconcile or they might want to use the time apart as a trial separation before divorcing. Either way, it is important for a couple to decide how they will handle their finances and property while separated. Since people change their minds and forget things, it is best to put those arrangements in writing. The separation agreement can also address whether a spouse will pay the other spousal support during the separation and how long that will last.
It is a good idea to have each spouse independently prepare the separation agreement, or at least have their lawyer review the draft. If the agreement is signed and notarized, it becomes a binding contract between the parties. Unless it is found to be unconscionable, or the terms were the result of fraud, coercion or duress, a court will usually uphold the terms of the agreement in a divorce case. The terms of the separation agreement can be included in the final divorce judgment in a manner known as merger. separation agreements