Yes, make sure you are getting everything you want and deserve! It’s
an important part of the divorce process! Don’t take signing your
Many spouses expect divorce to be an ongoing battle, but as a seasoned
New York divorce attorney/mediator, I tell many spouses, it doesn’t
have to be! There are constructive ways to tackle divorce and create a
battle-free path that is nonadversarial and more cost-effective.
A pivotal part of the divorce process is developing an agreement with which
you are both satisfied. This contract should cover everything that is
important to you both, like custody of your children, support, maintenance,
marital, separate and personal property.
There is a lot to consider. It’s necessary to address everything
that applies to your marriage.
You will need the help of a divorce attorney/mediator to create a comprehensive
separation agreement. As a divorce attorney/mediator, I have developed
thousands of separation agreements over the past 35 years. I have successfully
helped couples design an agreement that is thoughtful and thorough! I
can help you too!
Many of my clients ask, “What should be included in our separation
agreement?” I have put together a basic separation agreement checklist
for them that may be helpful to you if are considering divorce.
A separation agreement is a contract in which you and your spouse agree
on all the terms of your divorce. You will discuss and make decisions
about various issues relevant to your divorce such as:
- Equitable distribution of marital property;
- Spousal alimony / rehabilitative maintenance;
- Division of retirement accounts, pensions and; deferred compensation;
- Child custody, parenting arrangements, and child’s residence;
- Child support;
- Childcare, extra-curricular activities;
- Health insurance;
- Life insurance;
- Tax consequences.
Here are some important areas to include in your separation agreement:
1. Assets and Property
You will first review what are separate and joint assets. Generally, property
owned by one spouse prior to the marriage is separate property, if it
was not put into joint names, and remains separate property.
If work was done on the property during the marriage it could have been
converted into marital property.
In New York, anything acquired during the marriage is marital property.
Marital property is subject to fair distribution upon divorce - not necessarily
50-50. You will be deciding on division of all property, bank accounts,
pensions, retirement accounts and other assets. You and your partner will
have to discuss how you wish to split what you have accumulated together.
Communication during this process is key. You may have to work with a
divorce mediator or attorney to develop a sound agreement.
In addition, you will address individual and joint debts such as mortgages,
bank loans, credit card debts, student and car loans.
2. Children, Custody, Visitation and Child Support
First there should be a discussion about custody. Joint? Sole? Residential?
Sole custody had traditionally been the most common choice years ago,
but today, divorced parents are choosing arrangements in which joint custody
is more common. I can help with suggestions about possibilities.
With visitation, you will design a plan with the other parent. This schedule
will include details like days of the week, weekends, time visitation
starts and stops, holidays, and summer vacations.
You will also discuss child support. Child support cannot be waived. There
are child support guidelines for every state. There are also arrangements
for childcare and extracurricular expenses like dance lessons, camp, or
private school, to name just a few.
3. Spousal Support
Spousal support provides financial assistance when there is a disparity
in the income of the spouses. It helps a stay-at-home parent become self-supporting.
The amount of spousal support should be decided by both parties. There
are guidelines and statutes to help with support amounts.
Before you sign your separation agreement, make sure it truly represents
everything you want and need. Making changes after the fact can be almost
impossible. Read the draft agreement carefully and ask lots of questions
before signing! Make sure you choose an attorney/mediator who will guide
you towards the best decisions for you and your family!
If you would like to discuss what should be included in your separation
agreement, give me a call.
Divorce doesn’t have to be quite so difficult financially or emotionally.
I encourage couples to try the amicable, less stressful, less expensive
path of mediation.
Divorce can be a civil series of discussions and decisions that can be
productive and helpful to you and your family.
Call me today to schedule your free consultation and discover how I can
help you create a separation agreement that works for you and your family.
FREE 1 HOUR CONSULTATIONS are
still available virtually.
Call New York Divorce Lawyer Lois Brenner right now so she can answer all
your questions about what should be included in your separation agreement.
To schedule your Free 1 Hour Consultation call