Even when you and your ex are on good terms, dividing up your assets and debt can get complicated. When your marriage has plenty of assets, you'll want to ensure that you get your fair share of what is rightfully yours. When there is debt involved, dividing up the debt and determining who is responsible for the debt can become contentious. If your marriage involves the custody of children, it is even more important that you have the services of an attorney from a place like Hougen Family Law who can guide you through the process of writing a separation agreement. Even if all you do is bring your separation agreement to an attorney to see if you are being treated fairly, this is an important step in the process of your divorce.
Understanding Your Separation Agreement
A separation agreement is used to solidify the terms of your divorce. You can negotiate the agreement with your ex until both parties are satisfied. Once you present your separation agreement in court and the judge accepts the agreement, you can't simply change your mind and ask for a different agreement. This is why it's important to decide what assets you want, what debt you are willing to take responsibility for, and what kind of child custody and visitation agreement you want for your children.
Equitable Distribution vs. Common Property States
In an equitable distribution state, the assets of the marriage are divided up into what is deemed fair to both parties. In a common property state, all assets are divided in half equally. This goes the same for any debt of the marriage. You can also choose to pay off the marital debt with marital assets, and then divide the assets that are left. You can negotiate with your former spouse to determine how to divide up assets and debt.
The Child Custody/Visitation Schedule
When you establish a custody and visitation schedule, this should begin right away to give your children a routine. Once you both agree to a schedule and file this schedule in court, it is difficult to change it if there aren't any issues. For example, if the children have adjusted well but you simply don't like the schedule, you aren't going to get the judge to agree to change it.
Your separation agreement is a vital document in your divorce. It's important to have this document reviewed by an attorney to ensure that you are getting everything that you deserve from your marriage.