Legal separation can be a difficult and emotional process for couples. However, it can also serve as a necessary step towards healing and moving on. If you are considering a legal separation, it’s important to know that there are steps you need to take to ensure that the process is legally valid and binding. In this article, we will go over how to start a legal separation agreement.
1. Consult with a Family Law Attorney
The first step in starting a legal separation agreement is to consult with a family law attorney. This is important because a family law attorney can help you understand the legal implications of a separation, as well as your rights and responsibilities during the process. A family law attorney can also guide you through the legal paperwork that needs to be filed.
2. Consider Mediation
If you and your partner can communicate effectively, mediation can be a good option for starting a legal separation agreement. Mediation involves a neutral third-party mediator who can help you and your partner come to an agreement regarding child custody, spousal support, and property division. A mediator can also help you save time and money by avoiding a lengthy court battle.
3. Draft a Separation Agreement
Once you have consulted with a family law attorney and considered mediation, the next step is to draft a separation agreement. A separation agreement is a legally binding document that outlines the terms of your separation. It should address issues such as child custody, child support, spousal support, and property division. You and your partner will need to agree on the terms of the separation agreement before it is signed.
4. File the Separation Agreement with the Court
After the separation agreement has been drafted and signed, it needs to be filed with the court. This is important because it makes the separation agreement legally valid. Once the separation agreement is filed with the court, it becomes an official court order.
5. Follow the Terms of the Separation Agreement
Finally, it’s important to follow the terms of the separation agreement once it has been filed with the court. Failing to follow the terms of the separation agreement can result in legal consequences, such as fines or even jail time.
In conclusion, starting a legal separation agreement involves several steps, including consulting with a family law attorney, considering mediation, drafting a separation agreement, filing the separation agreement with the court, and following the terms of the separation agreement. By following these steps, you can ensure that your legal separation is valid and binding.