Ending a marriage with a separation agreement
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There are many cases where divorce is not an appropriate solution for the parties involved. Whenever there are doubts that divorce or the end of your marriage is the absolute option, you can use a Separation Agreement.
This agreement allows a married couple to separate, but not divorce. The terms and conditions of the separation are outlined in the agreement and require both parties to agree to the terms before the document is signed. The separation agreement usually includes duties such as; who is responsible for the mortgage, what the living arrangements will be, maintenance, property, finances, and child care/support.
Why Use a Separation Agreement
It is best to use a separation agreement if there are hostilities between a married couple. This is because the agreement provides a solution to these arguments and any associated pressure you may feel. It offers both parties within the marriage to deliberate upon whether divorce is the right choice for them and their family.
Legal Separation or Agreement to Separate
You can agree to separate without any clear and binding legal agreement. However, it is our belief that a legal Separation Agreement is beneficial for married couples, especially when hostilities exist. It also prevents one party from filing for divorce later on grounds of abandonment. With a legal document there is evidence that both parties agreed to the separation, which can help if divorce proceedings eventually occur.
The Legal Process to Separation
If you want to involve the court within your legal separation, you will need to fill out a judicial petition. It will be sent to the court and, to ensure it is legally binding without errors, it is best to hire a solicitor.
Reasons for the Separation
As with the divorce petition, you will need a legitimate reason for the legal separation agreement that you file with the court. You can ask for a legal separation on the grounds of adultery or unreasonable behaviour. At this stage you do not need to show any irretrievable reason for the marriage to have broken down.
You may also use the reason of religion, the time and space to work through a problem in your marriage, or if you have been married under a year.
You cannot file for divorce if you have not been married for a year; however, you can alert the court to your decision to live separately yet married until that year has passed at which time you can then file for a divorce.
As long as your reason and the terms outlined in the agreement are reasonable, the court will grant your petition for separation. Once the court has approved the petition, you and your spouse must uphold the terms set forth in the document. You can legally remain separated as long as you wish or file for divorce after a period of time.