Ballard Law, PLLC is a separation agreement lawyer in Jackson, Mississippi that can help you if you are getting separated. Many couples choose to get separated before they get divorced, either because they want to spend some time apart before legally ending their marriage, or because separation confers certain financial benefits. However, if you are planning on getting separated in Jackson, Mississippi, it may be crucial to have a separation agreement in place. Divorce gives individuals certain legal benefits and rights, such as formally separating a couple’s financial entanglements and lives. If you are getting separated in Jackson, Mississippi, there will be no legal mechanism for dividing assets, debts, and property. It is each couple’s responsibility to have a separation agreement in place to formalize the separation and to protect each person’s rights. A separation agreement can divide a couple’s debts, bank accounts, and address complex financial matters, such as what will happen to the family home. If you are getting separated and plan to live in different homes and have children, you’ll also need to put a parenting plan in place outlining visitation and custody for the children. If you and your ex will be living apart, you may also need to make arrangements for child support and alimony payments, if appropriate.
Separation can sometimes be just as complex as divorce. In fact, a sound separation agreement can often be the foundation for your divorce agreement. Before living apart, contact the divorce lawyers at Ballard Law, PLLC in Jackson, Mississippi today. Our separation lawyers can help you protect your rights. Remember, separation doesn’t confer the same protections provided by divorce. A separation agreement can protect your rights.
What Should Be Included in a Separation Agreement?
Ballard Law, PLLC is a divorce lawyer in Jackson, Mississippi who can help you with your separation agreement. While some couples might think of separation as “divorce light” the reality is that if you will be living apart, your separation agreement should be just as robust as a divorce agreement. In fact, because you won’t have the legal and financial protections of divorce, it is even more imperative that your separation agreement be very detailed about financial matters and child custody matters. When properly written, your separation agreement can often serve as the basis for your future divorce agreement. Ballard Law, PLLC is a separation lawyer in Jackson, Mississippi who can assist you with writing a thorough and robust separation agreement. What things should be addressed and included in your separation agreement?
- Any debt that is shared by both you and your former partner will be legally considered both of your responsibilities. A sound separation agreement can address how debts are to be paid going forward. In some cases, it might be possible to pay off accounts or refinance accounts in each partner’s separate name. In other cases, the separation agreement will need to be more detailed about who will be responsible for paying which debts during the separation. Any additional debts taken out by either party could also be considered marital property and therefore the responsibilities of both parties. Therefore, it is very important in a separation agreement to be clear that any debts taken out after a certain date will be the responsibility of the individual taking out those debts.
- Dividing Bank Accounts. If you share bank accounts, it might be wise to split these accounts if you are separating. If your ex spends money in a shared bank account, you might not be able to recoup these losses during divorce. If you are living apart, it might be best to divide your financial entanglements.
- Retirement Accounts and Investments. Sometimes it is not possible to divide retirement accounts or investment accounts immediately. Your separation agreement can outline how these accounts should be handled. For example, if either party were to withdraw from a tax-deferred retirement account, both of you could be on the hook for a big tax bill. Your separation agreement can make clear that these accounts shouldn’t be touched during the separation, or your lawyer can help you understand the steps you’ll need to take to split these accounts. In some cases, accounts can be placed in a trust or entrusted to a financial advisor who can protect these accounts.
- If you own property with your partner, you may want to make decisions about what will happen to the family home. Sometimes couples might choose to sell the family home and sometimes one partner will take on responsibility for the mortgage. It is important to ask yourself whether you can take on the financial responsibility on your own or whether it makes sense to sell the family home and split the proceeds. A separation agreement can outline how the home will be sold or how the family home will be handled.
- Child Custody. If you and your former partner will live in separate homes, you’ll want to draft a parenting plan outlining where the children will primarily reside, how visitation will be arranged, and how major decisions for the children will be made. Your parenting plan should be just as robust as your parenting plan would be if you were to get divorced. Your children deserve a stable home life.
- Child Support. If you and your partner will be living apart, Ballard Law, PLLC are divorce lawyers in Jackson, Mississippi who can refer to child support guidelines of the state to determine what child support amounts your children deserve.
- Spousal Support. If you are living apart during your separation and alimony would be owed were you to be getting divorced, spousal support payments may need to be arranged. Ballard Law, PLLC are divorce lawyers in Jackson, Mississippi who can help you understand your rights when it comes to spousal support during a separation.
- Many couples choose to separate rather than divorce so that both parties and children won’t lose their insurance. Information about insurance payments and benefits should also be included in your separation agreement.
These are just some of the issues that should be addressed in your separation agreement. Every couple’s situation will be unique, so while it might be tempting to use a template separation agreement from the internet, consider speaking to a separation lawyer like Ballard Law, PLLC in Jackson, Mississippi today. Our firm can help you address the tough questions and include them in your separation agreement.
Divorce Versus Separation in Jackson, Mississippi
Divorce is the legal process that formally ends a marriage. With separation, couples remain married and continue to have all the obligations and benefits of marriage. If your marriage is over, divorce may be the best option. However, some couples choose to separate first for many good reasons. In some cases, both parties may not yet be ready to formalize the divorce, or the couple may need time to get their financial affairs in order before divorcing. Some couples choose to stay married but separate because they don’t want to lose the tax benefits or insurance benefits marriage provides. In the long term, if your marriage is over, it may still be best to finalize your divorce, because with divorce, you formally cut all financial ties and can also get remarried. However, separation may still be a good temporary solution for many couples. If you are thinking of separating, contact the separation lawyers at Ballard Law, PLLC in Jackson, Mississippi today.