Posted by Michael Franklin –
Separation agreements allow you to outline specifically in a divorce what you agree to. Specifically, separation agreements resolve issues such as custody, child support, parenting time, alimony, medical and dental insurance, property and debt division, taxes, and name changes. What you put in the agreement is specific to the situation and the concerns you may have.
A separation agreement functions as a contract when you and the other party sign it. However, Its terms become binding when it is approved by a judge. If a judge thinks it is unfair or a signature was coerced, they have the discretion not to approve it.
Having legal counsel is important when drafting a separation agreement. Many of the issues involved are complicated and may change over time. A lawyer can examine your particular needs and situation to determine what is fair.
In Massachusetts, a lawyer for one party can draw up a separation agreement for both parties. However, the non-represented party must be advised of their right to have their own independent legal counsel review it. A mediator may also draft the separation agreement for both parties.
It is important to note that a separation agreement can be drafted and signed before or after you file for divorce. Having a written separation agreement is important to document any verbal agreement you may have.
If you have questions and would like to speak with an attorney, please contact our office to schedule an appointment.