Unfortunately, relationships are not always easy. Difficulties can arise that make you question whether or not the marriage will survive. In some cases where both parties want the opportunity to salvage their relationship, an agreement to separate pending a final decision on divorce can be made. While it is possible to do, make a formal separation agreement on your own, there are some times that it is in your best interest for seeking the advice of a competent attorney.
Many people have the idea that a separation agreement is a small step before the divorce, but nothing could be further from the truth. The separation agreement is where you should spend the most time and money to make sure it's something that you can live with, and the divorce, if it comes down to it, should be simple, quick, and inexpensive.
A lawyer is well-educated about your rights and responsibilities toward your partner and your children and can help make sure that you follow the rules to make the agreement legal. A separation agreement is no small thing, and should never be taken lightly. Even a divorce won't change the separation agreement, so anything you include in your agreement has the potential to remain in force long after you have divorced.
Once an agreement has been reached and properly executed (signed in front of a notary), it can be nearly impossible to eliminate or amend. If you later discover that you didn't realize that you were legally entitled to something, or you otherwise become displeased with the agreement, it will probably be too late to do anything about it. For example, this can become a very important issue to you if any alimony or property division claims are included in your agreement. If you later decide to divorce, you'll be unable to file a claim for additional alimony or a more equitable property distribution with the court.
Separation agreements can become quite complex. If you do decide to create your own agreement, it is necessary that you understand what can and what cannot be included legally. Either seeking the advice of a lawyer or having one represent you in the separation will make handling these matters much simpler.
Lawyers are familiar with the rules of separation and divorce pertaining to your state, and they will most likely be familiar with the judge, and understand how he rules in such matters. A lawyer is also able to help a client contain his or her own anger while appearing in court. It is very difficult to remain unbiased and without emotion when dealing with such hot-topic issues as divorce and finances. In this way, lawyers can prevent an escalation of hostilities to produce more satisfying results.
The decision to separate usually comes during a time of very high emotions. When in an intensely emotional state, it can be more difficult to make rational decisions that are in your own best interest. Your lawyer is removed from the situation and can provide guidance based upon the rule of law. You'll have the peace of mind of knowing that your rights were protected in the separation agreement.