If you are separating from your spouse, you need to sit down and negotiate a separation agreement to guide your separation and post-separation life. Before signing such an agreement, you need to analyze it and confirm that it is right for you. Here are some of the questions to help you with the review:
Is It Fair?
A good separation agreement should be fair to both of you. Note that "fair" isn't synonymous with equal in this context. It doesn't mean that you should share the financial responsibilities equally and divide the marital home equally. It all depends on your current financial status and your specific circumstances. For example, if one parent will be having physical custody of the child, it may be fair for them to stay in the family home and let the other parent look for a different residence.
Is It Good For the Children?
Separating parents should do everything in their power to limit the negative effects of their separation on the children. This is because the children have not played any part in your marital breakdown, and they are still young enough to be severely affected by the separation. Therefore, don't make decisions that benefit you more than the kids; in fact, it should be the opposite. For example, if you have a child with special needs and there is a school that caters for those needs nearby, it will be mean of you to move with the child to a different town because you like its entertainment scene.
What Have You Given Up/Gained?
A separation agreement is often reached after a negotiation, which means it's likely to contain several compromises. However, it shouldn't be you giving up most of your desires for the sake of your partner; it should be a give and take arrangement. Therefore, you should be suspicious of the agreement if it looks like you have given up most of the demands you started with and your partner has gained most of the things they wanted.
Would You Get a Better Offer In Court?
You can either sit down with your spouse and craft a separation agreement or you can go to court and let the judge rule on your contentious issues. The former can save you a lot of time and money, but you shouldn't settle for it if you can get a better offer in town. A family lawyer like Diane Dramko, Attorney At Law should evaluate your agreement and advise you on how much, if at all, it differs from what you might get in court.