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Considering Divorce? 5 Reasons You Need A Separation Agreement

When it comes time to file for divorce, you might be confused about the steps you should take.  Before you jump into the divorce, you should be sure that you and your rights are fully protected. The best way to protect yourself during a divorce is to begin with a separation agreement. Not only will your separation agreement protect your rights during the divorce proceedings, it can also become the foundation for your divorce settlement. Here are just a few of benefits to having a separation agreement.

Details Custody Issues

If you and your spouse have children together, a separation agreement will help establish custody arrangements, including child support and visitation. These arrangements can be used to establish a permanent custody agreement should you proceed with a divorce.

Limits Debt Liability

If you live in a state that allows spouses to have separate property, a separation agreement will protect you from liability for debt that your spouse acquires during the separation. For instance, if your spouse takes out loans during the separation, you will not be responsible for paying that debt if you have a separation agreement in place.

Ensures Financial Benefits

If you have health insurance through your spouse, a separation agreement will allow you to continue using that insurance. You'll also be able to access any joint credit that you and your spouse have established. This is particularly important if you have joint bank accounts that you rely on.

Allows For Certain Tax Deductions

If the separation agreement includes spousal support, you'll be able to claim it as a tax deduction if you're the one required to pay. You can only claim that deduction if the support is court ordered. However, if you are the spouse receiving support, you'll need to claim it as income on your taxes.

Provides Enforcement of the Agreement

One of the most important benefits of having a separation agreement in place is the ability to go to court if your spouse does not honor the agreement. For instance, if your spouse fails to pay spousal support or refuses to follow other items in the agreement, you can ask the court to step in. If you don't have a separation agreement, the courts will not step in to assist.

If you're considering a divorce, you need to ensure that your rights are protected. Your divorce attorney will be able to explain the benefits of obtaining a separation agreement before you proceed with a divorce.