Getting your marriage annulled is not an easy or pleasant experience, but sometimes that is your only option. In such instances, you need to understand how to get a separation agreement to ensure you and your partner separate amicably. The information in this article will guide you on the best process of how to get a separation agreement.
Understand the Residency Requirements in Your State
The residency requirements for legal marriage separation matter from one state to another. That is why it is recommendable to ensure you have a clear understanding of what is required in your residential state regarding getting a separation agreement. Many people do not understand this phenomenon, making it pretty challenging to know what they should do.
You should first consider starting at your local authorities’ offices. The professionals in these offices have a clear glimpse of the local residency requirements regarding divorce, legal separations, and the annulment of domestic partnerships. There are your to-go-to people if you want to know about separation agreements.
Nonetheless, you must also be open-minded about any requirements you may learn about regarding how to get a separation agreement. In some states, you cannot get this document unless one of you resides there. In other states, you may find that you can both file for a legal separation even if you do not live in the state. This is primarily the case for domestic partnerships in California, but you must ensure you register the partnership in this state.
File a Separation Petition
Filing a separation petition is the next step after confirming you fulfill your state’s residency requirements. This is a process causing a headache for many couples regarding how to get a separation agreement. Nevertheless, it becomes difficult because many do not know where to start or where to go when filing such a petition. One of the best ways to do it is by hiring an attorney to help you file this petition with the court.
Fortunately, the number of these attorneys has skyrocketed over the last few years. Therefore, you can be sure of filing this petition with a reliable lawyer. It is advisable to make a few considerations when procuring the services of a legal expert. Nonetheless, one of the critical ones is working with a diversified professional. Many lawyers have their own specialization, such as handling marriage separations only, but others can simultaneously handle different matters.
You may find accident attorneys with the ability to help you with your divorce case. Such professional diversity gives a lawyer detailed knowledge and experience in different cases. Like the residency requirements, the process and conditions of a separation petition vary from one state to the other. Do not expect to go through the same process with other couples in a different state. Filing a separation petition is not a free service, meaning you must be ready to incur such expenses. Besides procuring a lawyer’s services, you can use online platforms like the local government’s website. Alternatively, you can consult a court clerk and file the petition independently.
File a Separation Agreement
The next step to how to get a separation agreement is filing for it. This is the document that accompanies the petition you filed above. This is the main subject of the information explained in this article. A separation agreement is easy to get if you have accomplished the above mentioned steps. Nonetheless, you must know the contents of such an agreement to ensure it covers all the necessary areas.
The critical contents include child custody, visitations, marital assets division criteria, child support, restraining orders, living arrangements, and debt paying. One of the areas you should be keen on in a separation agreement is what your state says about dating while going through the divorce process.
In some places, starting another relationship can be considered adultery before finalizing your separation from your current spouse. You can file for this agreement jointly with your spouse or do it individually. If you take the latter route, you must ensure the other party is served with a copy of the agreement. Your spouse has the power to file a counter-petition. Nonetheless, they have a particular period to respond to your petition, which in many cases is 30 days.
Solve Unresolved Issues
By now, you have the significant steps to how to get a separation agreement, but what happens if your partner disagrees with the document’s contents? In most cases, issues with a separation agreement arise from child custody, spousal financial support, asset sharing, and debt payment. Some people do not agree with what their spouses say about these matters.
Finding yourself in this situation can be daunting, stressful, time-consuming, and tedious. However, the law states that your partner has the right to counter your petition if they disagree with what you have filed. The only viable options in such situations are mediation and collaborative law to agree with your partner.
This means you will have to go before a judge when resolving some of the issues you could not solve with your partner. Nonetheless, you do not have to get stressed over unresolved matters, considering an experienced professional from a reputable law firm can make the work easier for both of you.
Deal with the Financial Matters
As mentioned before, the financial part is one of the most disturbing issues regarding how to get a separation agreement. Many couples do not agree on who will pay their debts, how to divide their financial assets, spousal financial support, and other matters relating to their finances. This point talks about financial issues independently to help you understand how critical they are in ensuring you amicably, successfully, and legally terminate your relationship with your partner.
Fortunately, many attorneys today have deep accounting knowledge, meaning they can effectively help you resolve your financial matters. You may be surprised to learn that your lawyer possesses all the skills required for an accountant, considering they also handle money matters in court. Dealing with financial matters is not everyone’s cup of tea.
You have had enough knowledge on how to get a separation agreement, but there comes a time when financial issues become a real bother. Tax issues may arise when deciding who will take care of such expenses between you and your ex. It is critical to consult tax accountants to understand where you stand on different taxation matters. Alternatively, you can consult your tax filing company for the best explanation of how you have been keeping up with property taxes and how much you owe them.
Sign and Notarize the Agreement
The subsequent phases of how to get a separation agreement after resolving the issues are signing and notarizing the document. You can directly skip this step if your spouse agrees with your petition and does not raise any issues. Signing and notarizing means you both agree on the document’s contents. A signed and notarized copy helps a clerk enter it into the court records as it awaits the judge’s approval of your separation.
However, you must avoid any actions that may alter the results before the court signs off the separation agreement. Some significant areas that may be affected by anything you do include child custody and asset sharing. Moving out of your home before the finalization of the separation process can have severe effects on different judgments.
Moving out may show the judge that you have given up on the relationship. This may force the court to judge moving out as abandoning your partner, which can forfeit your future rights to ownership and custody claims. Such instances can be traumatizing and stressful. This is why you need to be cautious about whatever you do before the court is done with your separation case.
Get a Copy and Execute the Separation
The final step of how to get a separation agreement is acquiring a copy of your records to finalize the separation with your partner. You now have the freedom to live your life, but ensure you stick to the guidelines and rules listed in the agreement to avoid getting into trouble in the future. Moreover, this is the point the court clerk files and records your agreement document with the record for any necessary future referencing.
Sticking to the stipulations in the separation agreement is a part you and your ex-spouse should play. You have gone through the separation process, handled any unresolved matters, and agreed on how your lives will be after the separation. It is critical to stick to what is in the document. Some requirements in the agreement may be hard to adhere to, but that does not give you an excuse to default on them.
For instance, some parents find it hard when a restraining order is given by the court to stay away from their kids, especially when there is proof of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Others find it hard to accept the asset division criteria, but once the court signs off your separation, there is little you can do.
Benefits of a Legal Separation Agreement
Understanding how to get a separation agreement is critical, but how does it benefit you to go through the process legally?
It Saves Time
Working with experts in separation matters saves you substantial time because you get the best court representation, including attending case hearing sessions. You can direct the saved time to other crucial aspects of your life. Your life does not stop just because you are going through a legal separation case. You must focus on other things, such as attending to your job.
It Finalizes the Separation
You may think you have separated from your partner, but it may mean nothing if you do not have a legal document to prove it. However, when you have a copy, you can be sure you have closed that chapter of your life and begun building a new relationship and move on to other life matters.
It Avoids Future Issues
Many people have faced different issues after their marriages came down tumbling because they did not have the correct documents as proof. Some significant issues that have bothered many couples include child custody and asset division disagreements. However, when you have a signed agreement, you can avoid such problems because even the court can attest to the legitimacy of your separation. Therefore, it can be challenging to find yourself handling other cases after finalizing your breakup.
It Makes for a More Amicable Split
Separating from your partner may be one of the stressful life experiences, but you do not have to face such a daunting situation if you understand what you are supposed to do. One of the best ways of having an amicable breakup is getting a separation agreement. It makes it much easier to come to a mutual understanding on divorce-related matters, such as child support and custody, property division, and money issues. You should be keen on how to get a separation agreement to ensure an amicable breakup.
Disagreements in marriage and marital relationships are not new, especially in the current generation. Nonetheless, a time comes when separation and divorce are the only options left. It is vital to understand some of the best procedures to follow, one of the top being acquiring a separation agreement. It may not be an easy journey, but you can manage it by following the above-explained steps. These steps apply in all situations, whether in a divorce or a casual domestic partnership.