What Does a Lawyer for a Separation Agreement Do?
A lawyer for a separation agreement learns about the case. Separation lawyers take time to hear the case from both sides and act as a peaceful mediator in the transition. They know both parties' stances and scenarios and work to resolve the case accordingly.
It is important to understand that this is not the end of the relationship. Most couples come out of separation and reconcile. This is why a well-versed lawyer in family law knows how to handle the case with great sensitivity.
The lawyer helps mediate who gets to live in the family home—moreover, the fair division of assets, mortgage payment, custody, and visitation rights.
The detail of the separation agreement includes:
- Agreement to live apart
- Agreement to custody
- Arrangement of access to children
- Ownership of family home
- Occupation of the family home
- Maintenance of family home
- Indemnity of debts
- Succession rights
- Responsibility in childcare finances
- Responsibility of taxation
These may be some of the aspects. But many other elements are entailed in each section.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Separation Agreement?
Every couple parting ways needs a lawyer for a separation agreement. The agreement can reach some invalid grounds since both parties do not have adequate legal information.
Since the process of separating legally is a process that requires extensive paperwork, having an attorney with relevant knowledge may ease the tedious process.
Also, every state has various laws for family, all aspects related to children and spousal care, and separation. Finally, the lawyer helps both the clients navigate the legal jargon that otherwise becomes impossible for a non-specialist to understand.
Moreover, the idea is that the couple can always come back together after a few years. Hence the primary goal of any attorney is to keep it as civil as possible during the entire process.
What Should You Calculate in Spousal Support?
Spousal support is the financial support paid by one spouse to another post-separation. The idea is to divide the wealth fairly between the spouses, ensuring both get a fair verdict.
Also, it does not aim to overburden one person with economic responsibility in the equation. In legal jargon, you will hear the words like spousal maintenance or alimony instead of spousal support.
Some factors are calculated when calculating the alimony:
Length of Marriage
Often, in marriage, the dependency on the other spouse increases with time. It may not be the case for all clients, but it is a general observation. Hence the attorney always factors these aspects in the evaluation of spousal support.
The court is also considerate of the client's lifestyle. Again, it ensures there is less trauma for both clients and children.
Spouse's Future Financial Aspects
The spouse who earns more will most likely pay a more significant chunk for spousal maintenance.
Receiving Spouse's Future Financial Prospects
The Spouse that isn't earning as much in the future may call for more maintenance.
Health and Age of Spouses
The younger spouse has good health and more prospects of getting opportunities in the near future. They can get better prospects and chances of a better income.However, the spouse with poor health and older are eligible for more support than the younger and healthy spouses.
Sacrifices and Contributions of Spouses During the Marriage
The court also considers the sacrifices one client made in raising children and being at a disadvantage economically. Since they were home and ensuring comfort for family, they did not progress in their career, hence the disadvantage.
What Types of Lawyers Review Separation Agreements?
Family lawyers are the best lawyers to review separation agreements. Since they have the education and information about everything included in the agreement, they will help navigate ahead.
These professionals have the training to facilitate communication between the separating couple. The terms are pretty basic in the separation process and can be achieved by following a simple template.
But before it reaches the finalization, it is best to hire a lawyer for a separation agreement.Lawyers should represent their patrons and safeguard the interest of their clients negotiating with other attorneys.
Here is an article on different types of lawyers.
Why Use a Lawyer for a Separation Agreement?
The whole process is a lot of nerves and emotions. Most couples who are separating with the hopes of reconciling their differences in the future and not filing for divorce will use a lawyer for a separation agreement.
Since the clients are a whirlwind of emotions and anxiety, a lawyer will help them navigate their assets, responsibilities, and visitation rights to strike a balance.
A lawyer who has experience will take the case forward by educating you about your rights. Furthermore, they will be able to address the concerns that can later have negative implications on the case.
After knowing all legal jargon, rights, and stance – one can form a sane action plan. The lawyer can also help navigate the expenses that a person can bare post-separation ensuring it doesn't burden one person.
Moreover, it will be a great help in navigating the life post-separation for the client.
As soon as the clients part ways with a smooth transition and have no unresolved issues – they can focus on their lives and children and will have no bitter feelings towards each other.
Common Fee Structure for a Separation Agreement Lawyer
There is no set fee structure for a separation agreement lawyer. However, some factors include office location, experience, education, and the firm they represent.
Usually, lawyers charge hourly, and the normal charges are $250 per hour. The retainer is like a down payment which the lawyer deducts when working on your case.
A common fee structure for separation agreement lawyers is:
- Initial consultation : The fee is charged when working initially with the client and understanding the case. Some of the services are free of charge, but it depends on the firm.
- Limited representation : In this aspect, the lead attorney charges for the partial representation they make for you. A Junior attorney either handles the remaining elements of the case.
- Full representation : This is ideal for a smooth transition where one lead attorney represents the whole case.
Here is an article on the fee structure of lawyers.
Is a Separation Agreement Legally Recognized?
The separation agreement acts as an agreement between the two parties. Therefore, the agreement doesn't have to be presented in a court of law.
It is only governed by the contract law, which binds both the parties to terms and conditions that they mutually outlined.
However, suppose the clients fall into an agreement in the future. In that case, the judge can look back at the agreement to form a verdict accordingly. However, a judge can completely throw out the contract, if:
- Both parties are unaware of their rights
- The agreement is not in the best interest of children
- The rights and terms are unfair for one spouse, only
- The agreement was not completely witnessed or evaluated
- The agreement doesn't have any contradiction with postnuptial agreements or prenuptial agreements
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