Legal separation is a legal process that is relatively less formal and less final than a divorce. It typically allows couples to live apart but remain legally married. However, legal separation agreements, just like divorce proceedings, can involve many complex issues and legal complexities that can be difficult to navigate if you don’t have the necessary expertise or guidance. In this article, we’ll explore some of the common issues you may encounter during a legal separation.
1. Property Division
One of the most important issues to be addressed during a legal separation is the division of marital assets and debts. Your attorney can assist you in identifying, valuing, and fairly dividing all of your property, including bank accounts, real estate, investments, and personal property. Moreover, if you and your spouse have children, your attorney can help you work out a fair child support and custody arrangement.
2. Spousal Support
In some cases, one spouse may be entitled to receive spousal support (also known as alimony or maintenance) during the separation process. This can be a delicate issue, as the needs of both parties and the ability of the other spouse to pay support will need to be considered. Contact an attorney to help you understand what factors will be taken into consideration when calculating spousal support.
3. Retirement Accounts
Another important issue to address during legal separation is the division of retirement accounts. Retirement accounts can be a significant asset, and dividing them can be quite challenging, especially when it comes to Social Security benefits. Seek the help of an experienced attorney who can guide you through the complex rules and regulations governing the division of these assets.
When entering into a legal separation agreement, it’s important to consider how it will impact tax filings. Depending on your situation, you may need to file separate or joint tax returns. Also, spousal support may have tax implications. An attorney can help you understand the legal implications of a legal separation agreement on your taxes and provide you with guidance on how to handle tax matters.
5. Changes in Circumstances
Even after a legal separation agreement is in place, it may become necessary to make changes to the agreement. For example, if one party experiences a significant change in their financial circumstances, it may be necessary to recalculate spousal support. An experienced family law attorney can help you modify the agreement as needed to ensure that it is in compliance with all applicable laws and addresses your current needs.
A legal separation agreement can be a complex matter that involves multiple legal and financial issues. It’s crucial to have guidance through the entire process to ensure that the agreement is fair and legally valid. Contact our experienced family law attorneys to help you navigate any challenges or complexities that may arise during this challenging time. Our attorneys have experience dealing with these issues and can give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your interests are protected.