For those who may not be familiar with the term, a legal separation is similar to divorce but does not terminate the marriage. In certain circumstances, couples may decide that legally separating is a better choice than fully dissolving a marriage.
Common reasons to separate include insurance reasons, military benefits, religious beliefs, or even tax-related issues. What separation does have in common with divorce is that the spouses will no longer be living together. They must also come to an agreement on issues like parent-time, custody, and a division of assets.
How To Prepare Your Finances For Legal Separation?
Although every case is unique we wanted to present the following information as generally good advice.
Understand how your income and expenses are currently being handled. It is a good idea to determine how much your spouse earns and how much you financially are able to contribute. Creating a spreadsheet or table will help you determine how well you will be able to support yourself once the separation has been enacted.
- Begin to split joint accounts. This will help to prevent financial obligations that are not rightfully yours should an issue arise. The choice is always yours, but it might be worth your time to set up your own banking and checking accounts.
- Get agreements in writing. Hopefully, significant others are able to split assets in a way that is fair and agreeable. Even if you feel like things will go smoothly it is a good idea to get written statements that show agreement. This will help the official documents get drafted and signed in a timely and headache-free manner.
- Plan for bills associated with marital property. It is a common practice for married people to share one banking account from which all bills are paid. Marital assets usually include all property that was obtained after the marriage took place. The two largest areas of concerns include the house and any vehicles. We frequently see situations where one couple will stay in the home on the condition they pay the mortgage and all bills. While the other spouse may get the vehicles with the understanding they will pay the auto loan.
Get A Local Law Firm To Draw Up The Agreement
Many people wish to handle issues in a civil manner and do not feel it necessary to involve an attorney. Although this may sound like an admiral viewpoint, it may not be the wisest in the long-run. At the very least it is important to protect yourself from debt collectors should your separated partner stop making payments for some reason. Larger and more sensitive issues should also be addressed by an attorney-drafted contract. This includes parent-time rights, custody and who will pay what expense when it comes to your children.
Having an experienced family law attorney handle your legal separation should alleviate stress. Knowledgeable attorneys will help address issues you may not have considered. They can also stand as an unbiased third party to help ensure things stay fair and aboveboard. If you are a Utah resident looking for a legal separation call our office for a consultation today.