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In most cases, if your spouse files for a legal separation, you will be notified by the spouse unless there are some domestic abuse issues or other problems. For those cases, a certified family law mediator will step up and take care of the separation documents. They can also help you to negotiate your agreement so that your spouse will agree to sign it. What happens if they refuse to sign? That is where you may want to hire a family law mediator to negotiate the agreement.
What Happens if No Agreement Can Be Reached
If an agreement cannot be reached between the husband and wife, they might have to get a court order. Getting a court order means that one spouse will have to file a complaint. This initiates a lawsuit against the other spouse, and after that lawsuit has been opened, it will sometimes resolve issues like child support or child custody. It will also resolve visitation rights, alimony and property division. If your ex spouse refuses to sign the separation agreement, enforcing it with a court order is one of the best ways to go. If the other spouse fails to abide by the terms of the agreement, obtaining a court order to find if the other spouse failed to follow the order is the best route. You may also want to consult with a lawyer if you have to enforce the agreement. Other times, a lawyer can come in handy if you are the defendant of the separation agreement.
The Housing Arrangements
When two spouses have agreed to separate, they cannot continue living under the same house. To be legally separated, the husband or wife will have to live at a different residence. Whether a couple can file for legal separation will often depend upon the laws of the state. You have some states that have made legal separation available, but the process often has a similar appearance to divorce. Avoiding this problem, sometimes a couple will create their own separation agreement, and other times, they rely on the court for resolving the marital problems.
What to Understand with a Separation
Once a couple has filed for separation, they will be officially separated, and for those couples who later decide to divorce, they can later choose to convert the legal separation over into a divorce. While the laws for each state will differ, the spouse who wants a separation will have to notify them at some point. This is called the service of process, and the responsibility to notify the other will fall on the petitioner. The paperwork can also be served by the local sheriff or adult who does not have anything to do with the case. This also depends on the state.
After the spouse has received their legal separation paperwork, he or she will normally have to give his or her response within a specific time frame. During that time, he can agree or disagree with the terms, but a failure to respond means that the court will enter a default judgment, and the favor normally goes to the spouse who filed for separation.