YUMA, Arizona. For many couples, separation is the first step toward divorce. However, it is important that you take your separation as seriously as divorce, because choices you make during your separation can impact your children’s lives, your financial life, and your future for years to come. One of the biggest mistake separating couples make is failing to draw up a sound separation agreement when they split up. What should be included in a separation agreement? How can you best protect your rights? Here are four things to consider:
- Draw up a parenting plan. Your parenting plan in a separation agreement should be no less detailed than a parenting plan for divorce. Your children’s needs should be paramount if you and your ex will be living in separate homes, and your parenting plan should be designed to address the best interests of your children. Separation raises issues similar to divorce. Where will your children reside? How will holidays be spent? How will children get to and from each parents’ home? How much will be paid in child support? How will major decisions regarding the children’s education, activities, and medical needs be addressed? Couples who handle their parenting plan during their separations are often better prepared when the time comes to divorce. A parenting plan should be flexible. During your separation, you can work out a parenting plan that ultimately will be best for your family and children.
- Divide assets and debts. According to Forbes
, any financial decisions (or mistakes) your ex makes while you are separated, can come back to haunt you. You could be responsible for any added debts your ex takes on, or be responsible for any losses your ex suffers financially, like lost jobs, or stock market downturns. One way to protect yourself during your separation is to draw up a separation agreement that clearly divides your assets and debts, and outlines how shared property, investments, and other financial instruments should be handled.
- Consider alimony. The divorce attorneys at Schneider & Onofry, P.C. in Yuma, Arizona
can help you understand your rights and options when it comes to alimony. Some couples might choose to delay their divorce and opt for separation agreements in the early months of 2019 because new alimony tax laws will make a difference in how alimony might be calculated during divorce. Some couples are adopting a wait and see attitude to see how courts and judges will handle alimony under the new tax law. Despite this, it is important to consider alimony in your separation agreement.
- Set the foundation for divorce. Your separation agreement should also include timelines for when you plan to get divorced and clearly outline your intent to live apart and separate. While some couples might be tempted to extend their separations indefinitely, due to financial reasons ( Women’s Day
recently reported that financial concerns are among the leading reasons why couples stay separated, but don’t get divorced) an over-extended separation can put you in financial risk and can lead to a more complicated divorce later on. Separated individuals cannot get remarried, and they retain financial and legal ties to one another. Divorce not only provides closure, but it also provides important legal protections that permit you to move on with your life.
If you are considering getting separated in Yuma, Arizona, you’ll want to have a sound separation agreement in place. Speak to the family lawyers at Schneider & Onofry, P.C. in Yuma, Arizona
today to learn more about how a sound separation agreement can protect you.
Schneider & Onofry, P.C.
6024 E. 32nd St.
Yuma, AZ 85365