Having a clear general overview of how the process of legal separation works can ease some of the burden of this painful process.
There are usually two main issues to resolve when a couple separates which are the division of property and spousal maintenance then the issue of child custody.
Some of the things that can ease the process of separation include clear and calm communication and giving each other time to independently consider what is being offered in the separation.
A separation agreement also gives clarity, certainty and legal enforceability to the terms on which the relationship is to end.
The first step then is usually to open a conversation with your spouse, which will obviously be a difficult step.
The objective in a separation would usually be to ensure fairness for both parties and coverage of all of potential points of conflict which could arise in the future.
The things you can talk about with your spouse will cover the custody of the children, the payment of child support and timetable for when each parent will have time with each child.
It would also usually be wise to discuss the details of maintenance and the splitting of assets as well as debts in the relationship.
Most separation agreements will basically be documented for the conversation which you initially have.
Although the formal requirements can very from state to state, the themes of the agreement of this type remain constant.
The agreement will have to identify basic details such as when the marriage commenced, how long it lasted, what the date of separation was, what the personal details identifying the parties are such as name, address, social security number, date of birth and the date that the agreement was reached.
It will also include what the parties have agreed in terms of child custody, support, spousal maintenance and division of property.
There is often a need for a schedule of the property owned by each of the parties and what is considered part of the relationship to be split after the separation.
In some cases, it is not possible for the parties to a relationship to agree on the terms of a separation and in these cases, it may be necessary for a court to impose a decision based on the application of the relevant law.
In such cases, it is still advisable to try to seek a separation agreement as almost all courts encourage parties to a relationship which has ended to attempt to settle their differences out of court.
However, if this is not possible, court is the only alternative left.
For this reason a separation agreement is usually the most cost effective and efficient method of creating certainty subsequent to the breakdown of a relationship.