It is a good idea to have a Separation Agreement in place.
You are not required to have a Separation Agreement. However, it is a good idea to have one if you have any issues that remain unresolved with your spouse.
This will help you avoid a lengthy court process in which the Judge will have to decide things for you.
Verbal agreements between you and your spouse will not be enforced by the court. Only written agreements that are signed by both of you in the presence of a notary can be enforced.
A Separation Agreement, sometimes called a Property Settlement Agreement or Marital Settlement Agreement is a written contract that protects you and helps make sure that your spouse lives up to his or her obligations that are outlined in the agreement.
An agreement will clearly spell out the benefits you are entitled to and the obligations you have.
A Separation Agreement resolves all the issues and in doing so protects you and your spouse for the future. It answers questions such as:
- How will we divide our property?
- Will we sell our house or will one of us buy the other one out?
- Who will pay the car insurance?
- How will we pay our credit card bills, our student loans, and all of our other debts?
- Where will the children live and how will we parent them together?
- How will we share time with the children?
- Will I receive financial help to care for the children (child support)?
- Am I entitled to a share of my spouse’s retirement accounts?
- Will we file joint tax returns or separate tax returns?
- Who will claim the dependency exemption for the children?
- Who will claim the mortgage interest deduction for our house?
- Will I receive help meeting my financial needs (spousal support)?
- There are many other questions the agreement will answer.
- As you can see, there are many important issues to be decided when a marriage ends. The decisions you make will have a long lasting impact on your life. An agreement can be modified in the future if you and your spouse (ex-spouse) both agree to make the change.
It is important to speak to a divorce attorney about these issues so you can be sure you understand the issues involved and the meaning of the agreements you are making with your spouse.
You can negotiate some of the issues with your spouse, however, it is best to speak to a divorce attorney so you can be sure you are protecting yourself and receiving everything you are entitled to receive.
Once you have a Separation Agreement, it is much simpler to proceed to an Uncontested Divorce in DC.