Many couples today elect to obtain a separation agreement as an alternative to divorce. Obtaining a separation agreement, like a divorce, requires a court order. In contrast to divorce, however, a separation agreement does not legally dissolve a marriage and the spouses may reconcile at any point in the future. Couples may opt for a separation agreement instead of a divorce if they need time apart but are not ready to legally divorce, if they are religiously or morally opposed to divorce, or if the property division necessitated by a divorce will be unduly complex. Note that Massachusetts does not recognize “legal separation” as a status. Instead, separation agreements are used to organize and disclose the separation of assets and each individual’s responsibilities upon separation.
Separation agreements establish important issues such as:
- child custody and transportation
- child support
- visitation rights
- personal property division
- debt repayment
- communication concerns and protective orders
- possession of the marital home
- name change
- children’s education and extracurricular activities
- tax implications
- credit card use and payment
- living arrangements
Although separation agreements do not end a marriage, the decision to obtain a separation agreement should not be taken lightly. Importantly, if you and your spouse decide to divorce later on down the road, the agreement may serve as the foundation of the divorce order by a judge and may be difficult to amend. To craft a separation agreement that best serves your needs and interests, both today and in the future, it is important to work with an experienced Massachusetts family law attorney. Writing your own separation agreement can be risky and ultimately may not be in your best interest. The experienced family law attorneys at the Boston and Cambridge law firm of Altman & Altman, LLP, have over forty years of experience and are prepared to answer all your questions about divorce and separation agreements.
Both couples must sign a separation agreement in order for it to be effective. If you are considering obtaining a divorce or separation agreement, or feel you are being forced into signing a separation agreement you do not like, speak with a lawyer before taking further action. Our separation agreement and divorce lawyers understand that the decision to seek a full-fledged divorce, or opt instead for a separation agreement, can be stressful for you and your loved ones. We recognize that such decisions can be incredibly difficult and emotional, and can have a serious impact on your family life. Our family law attorneys counsel you on the intricacies of divorce and separation agreements, and can answer any questions you have pertaining to guardianships, mediations, pre-nuptial agreements, child support, alimony, and separation agreement modifications.
If you or a loved one is considering a separation agreement, the separation agreement attorneys at the Massachusetts law firm of Altman & Altman, LLP, have the knowledge and resources to help you understand the workings and legal ramifications of a separation agreement. To schedule your free, confidential consultation with an experienced Greater Boston separation agreement attorney at Altman & Altman, LLP, call 617.492.3000 or 800.481.6199 (toll free) or contact us online. Our phones are answered around the clock, 7 days a week, and we promptly respond to all emails.