By Sandler Francois
A Separation Agreement is an agreement on all the issues you and your spouse need to resolve before getting divorced, such as the division of marital property (assets and debts), child custody, visitation and support issues, and Temporary Maintenance and Post Divorce Maintenance (commonly known as ‘alimony or spousal support’), if any. The separation agreement must be signed and notarized by both you and your spouse. By having a separation agreement, the spouses are able to decide everything and have total control over the outcome of the divorce proceedings.
If you proceed with a divorce based on a written separation agreement, the agreement can be “converted” into a divorce judgment so that the terms of the agreement become part of the divorce judgment. You can start the divorce action on these grounds after you and your spouse have been living separate and apart for at least one year from the date the Separation Agreement was signed (“conversion” divorce.) Provided the court approves of the agreement, a conversion divorce is usually an uncontested proceeding and no hearing is generally required.
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