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When a couple decides to divorce, there are many factors to consider. Among the most important are child custody arrangements, alimony, division of property, and child support. Because it’s often difficult for couples to agree on all aspects related to these matters, it’s best if they work with their attorneys when deciding upon the final details. To make a divorce as amicable as possible, ironing out a separation agreement can make the entire process much easier and far less stressful.
When Do You Need a Separation Agreement?
Due to the many complex issues that come with getting divorced, it’s imperative that the agreement be finalized as soon as possible. However, while this is the preferred method for all parties, the separation agreement can be worked out at any time along the way. In fact, couples can iron out the specifics of this agreement just as they are ready to enter a courtroom for a hearing.
Is An Attorney Needed to Prepare the Agreement?
While you are not legally required to use an attorney when preparing a separation agreement, it’s highly recommended that each spouse be represented by an attorney when preparing a separation agreement. In order to protect the rights of each spouse, a lawyer can look over the agreement to ensure custody arrangements, child support payments, and property division terms are fair to all parties.
What Happens When a Settlement is Reached?
If at all possible, reaching an agreement prior to going to court is far more beneficial to everyone involved. If this occurs, the agreement can be drawn up by an attorney or even a mediator. However, once the agreement is drawn up and signed by both spouses, it becomes a binding agreement just like any contract. In addition, once the agreement is reached, it becomes part of the final divorce decree, making it a binding court order. If either spouse chooses to violate the terms of the agreement later on, they could find themselves in contempt of court.
Are You Required to Sign the Agreement?
As with any legal document, if there is something about it you are not comfortable with, it’s best to not sign it until it’s been changed to your liking. With any divorce, no spouse can be forced to settle until they are ready. However, while some spouses may choose to drag out the proceedings, that can also backfire. By not negotiating in good faith, the other spouse can choose to pull out of the proceedings and let the court settle everything. Rather than let this happen, it’s best to complete the agreement and be willing to compromise now and then.
Can One Attorney Work With Both Spouses?
The answer to this question is a resounding no, since one lawyer is prohibited from representing both spouses. Also, if one spouse chooses to not have legal representation, they may claim later they had no idea what they were signing. To avoid this, always hire an attorney to represent your interests when involved in divorce proceedings.
While there are a seemingly endless array of details involved when seeking a divorce, the good news is that a separation agreement can make the process much smoother. By working with an experienced attorney and being willing to negotiate in good faith, an amicable agreement can be reached in most cases. As with any divorce, it’s important to remember that if children are involved, both spouses should remember that they will not be the only people who will have to live with the terms of the agreement. Therefore, using common sense along the way can be beneficial for everyone. If you need more help, consider speaking to our divorce lawyers in NYC today.