You may know that your marriage is over, but you may not be quite ready to move forward with divorce. Suppose you are ready to live on your own while making important decisions regarding the future of your West Virginia family. In that case, a legal separation may be what is in your best interests. This is more than just finding your own apartment or moving out as it is like a divorce in many ways.
It is in your interest to craft a formal separation agreement. You can move out without signing any papers, but you are exposing yourself to unnecessary risks by doing so. The agreement you create for your period of separation can benefit your entire family and lay the groundwork for a potential divorce agreement in the future.
What is in your agreement?
There are many reasons why you may choose a legal separation over a divorce, including some tax perks and other financial benefits. A formal separation can give you and the other party time to work through issues and determine what terms should be in your final divorce order. It is a practical option for those who cannot move forward with divorce for financial, logistical or religious reasons. A separation agreement should address many of the things found in a divorce order, including:
- Child custody and visitation schedules
- Spousal support and child support
- Division of marital property and debt
It is important for your separation agreement to be thoughtful and carefully constructed as these terms could affect your family for a long period of time. Separation periods often last months or even years, and having a formal agreement in place provides each party with reasonable expectations and an understanding of individual responsibilities for the duration of this stage.
Your future starts now
Your future starts as soon as you decide to move forward with a separation. It would be wise to consider the benefits and potential drawbacks of your choices, including how they could impact your kids. A separation does not formally end a marriage, but it is a step toward divorce. Having a formal agreement in place can significantly simplify the divorce process if you eventually decide to take that step, reducing the chance for costly litigation and court battles in the future.