An agreement of separation is a contract between spouses, and determines most aspects about how alimony, child custody and support, property division, and debts are handled. A valid separation agreement must be a notarized written contract signed by both parties. Property, assets, and debts are frequently frozen during a separation until an agreement is reached. Separations are also often the first step of a divorce in South Jersey, but do not necessarily have to result in divorce. Some separation agreements are sought pending counseling or other changes to the marriage. Regardless, separations should cover support, expenses, taxes, and insurance.

Neither party needs to attend court in order to secure a separation agreement, and in fact agreements can be written by either party, provided they are both willing to sign and have it notarized. However, many people decide to work with a neutral party or mediator in order to draft an agreement together. In the case of large estates or very complex financial issues, having an attorney for each party present can help ensure that the separation agreement is amenable to both parties. Separation agreements that are not a fair distribution of assets or are made under duress (meaning one party was coerced into accepting the agreement against their will) are liable to be disregarded. Another reason a separation agreement can be thrown out is if there is a mistake when allocating or accounting for assets.

Types of Separation

There are two primary types of separation agreement – Bed and Board Separation, and Legal Separation. A Bed and Board Separation is an agreement in which the two partners remain legally married, but divide assets and debts between them. Alimony and child support are not typically granted to either party in these types of separations. The primary benefit of this type of separation is that both parties can continue to gain health benefits from each other due to the fact that they are still married, though it does mean that neither party can re-marry unless a full divorce is initiated. Bed and Board Separations are best for couples that have been married for extended periods of time and want to continue to take advantage of being married, and are unlikely to remarry at any point.

Washington Township Divorce Lawyers at Kearney, Burns & Martone Provide Counsel for Separation Agreements in South Jersey

Writing a separation agreement on one’s own is not easy, and having a lawyer that can help you through the process can be invaluable. Many couples going through divorce in South Jersey rely heavily on the Washington Township divorce lawyers at Kearney, Burns & Martone. Call 856-547-7733 for a consultation, or contact us online to learn more.

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