Yakima Separation Agreement Lawyer
Ending a relationship is a complicated and emotionally exhausting process. Many factors can add to the pressure, such as determining how assets and debts should be divided and where children or pets will live. To make the process less contentious, it is often advisable for couples to create a property settlement agreement or separation contract through a Yakima family lawyer that specifies arrangements for these issues.
In some cases, the parties may prefer a legal separation rather than a divorce. A legal separation touches on the same issues as the divorce—child custody, child support, spousal maintenance (or alimony), division of assets and debts, and so on—but it does not end the marriage.
If you and your spouse are considering ending your marriage, a Yakima separation agreement lawyer can review your options, help you evaluate the course of action that best suits your needs, and devise a plan to protect your rights and your assets. En Español.
Comparing Legal Separation to Divorce
In all respects, the process for obtaining a legal separation is the same as for a divorce. The parties first file a petition for separation and then must follow filing deadlines for certain documents and information.
As in a divorce case, the parties will divide assets and debts and come to terms regarding parenting functions and the residential arrangements for any children involved. These decisions may be reached by agreement or may require a trial. When the process of legal separation is completed, however, the parties remain married.
That being said, after six months of legal separation, either party may ask that it be converted to a dissolution at any time. And after six months of legal separation, either party may ask the court for a decree of dissolution, ending the marriage under the same terms as the legal separation, even without the consent of the other party.
In this case, the terms agreed upon for the legal separation—including the division of assets, child support arrangements, and the parenting plan—become part of the divorce. So, it is crucial to give thorough attention to the terms of any separation agreement and have the agreement prepared or reviewed by an experienced family law attorney.
Dividing Property During a Separation
Some of the most important terms to arrange in a separation agreement concern the division of assets and allocation of debt. It is essential to take inventory of all assets and determine whether they are considered marital property owned jointly or the separate property of just one party.
In addition, all property should be assigned a value. This can be easy for financial assets such as bank accounts and investments, but other property—such as furniture and jewelry—may require a professional appraisal if the parties cannot agree on value. All types of property, from real estate to household goods to pets, can have a sentimental value that is virtually impossible to express in monetary terms.
It can be helpful to work with an attorney familiar with creating separation agreements and sympathetic to the complexities and emotions involved. An experienced separation agreement lawyer can work to retain assets that are of the highest priority.
Talk to a Yakima Separation Agreement Attorney Today
Many legally separated couples eventually divorce, but other couples choose to continue to remain married while retaining their legally separated status. Either way, the terms of a separation agreement are binding and can have a tremendous impact on the life of both parties.
For that reason, it is recommended that both parties consult attorneys who can provide professional perspectives regarding contentious issues and help the parties reach a fair agreement that satisfies legal requirements and best meets the needs of everyone involved.
When you work with an experienced Yakima separation agreement lawyer, your attorney can guide you through the process and advocate on your behalf to safeguard your rights and help you obtain everything to which you are entitled. Contact our office now to learn how our experience can work for you.