Any couple who intends to or is currently going through a separation or divorce can execute a separation contract in order to settle any issues of dispute. These issues might include the division of property, the payment of debts, the custody and support of children, and the payment of spousal support. A separation contract sets forth, often in great detail, each party’s obligations and rights as to property, debts, and their children, both at the end of the relationship and following the divorce. Additionally, if parties are not ready to divorce, the parties can simply operate under the separation contract for as long as desired, and even indefinitely.
With the exception of issues related to children, the provisions in a separation contract are binding on the parties, even after they formally file for divorce. The court, however, has the final say on parenting arrangements for the parties’ children, as well on the division of property and debt. If the court finds that the parties’ separation contract is unfair as of the time that the parties executed it, the judge has the power to issue a different disposition of property and assets. In most cases, however, the separation contract becomes part of the final divorce decree. This means that the provisions of the contract become part of the court’s order and are enforceable by a court. However, the parties do have the right to terminate a separation contract by mutual agreement at any time.
The mechanics of physically separating a family can be very complex, so you will need to consult a Washington family law attorney about your rights and obligations under Washington law. With our legal knowledge of Washington family law, we can help you make the decisions in your case that will best benefit you and your family in your family law matter. We are here to answer your questions, ease your mind, and help guide you through what is likely to be a difficult proceeding. At Pacific Northwest Family Law, we handle family law cases that involve all types of issues, including divorce, child custody, , paternity, child support, property division, and spousal support. Contact our office today and see how we can assist you with your Washington family law case.