Bridging The Gap: How A Legal Separation Agreement Benefits You Financially

Posted on: 12 May 2017

If a divorce is in your future plans, you may be having a difficult time coping with the emotional effects of this major life event. You should understand, however, that your entire financial future can depend on the decisions you make in the next few weeks and months before your divorce becomes a final order. Many people mistakenly allow their emotions to cloud their thinking during this time, and the results can be disastrous. Read on to learn about how forming a legal separation agreement right now could end up benefiting your financial future.

Get some help for your children

Many parents are not aware of it, but you don't need to wait until the divorce is final to ask for child support. If you have physical custody of the children, you are very likely entitled to this important form of financial support from the other parent. Additionally, you can include other child-related issues, like custody and support, through temporary legal separation agreements. These orders can be folded into any permanent divorce decree, which could potentially make the divorce process shorter and less acrimonious. It should also be noted that you can ask for spousal support, or alimony, during this transition time.

Deal with debt now

The way that divorce deals with marital debt depends on whether you live in an equitable distribution state or a (less common) community property state. Regardless of how the debts end up being divided, however, you need to draw a definitive "line in the sand" for the accumulation of debt. A legal separation agreement will put a dividing line between marital debt and individual debts. This prevents spouses from being held liable for spending during the separation period.

Ensure your retirement

No matter your age, it's never too soon to be thinking about retirement planning. You may be entitled to a portion of your spouses 401(k), but there is another valuable form of retirement pay that can be negatively affected by a divorce.

You must be married for at least 10 years to benefit from half of your spouse's Social Security retirement pay. If you are nearing that 10-year mark, you may want to use a legal separation agreement to delay the divorce long enough to qualify for this valuable perk, particularly if you have reason to suspect that your earnings won't be as high as your spouse's. You can take this benefit when you (and your former spouse) reach full retirement age, even if your spouse remarries. You, however, cannot remarry and still use this benefit.

For more information, contact a family lawyer such as Margit M. Hicks, PA Attorney at Law.


answers to legal questions about child custody

Child custody cases are difficult for the families, the lawyers and judges involved. Finding the best solution to a difficult problem while protecting the kids from as much emotional distress as possible isn't something that anyone ever wants to be a part of. Unfortunately, many marriages end badly and the parents have to come up with a custody plan that will be most efficient for the kids and the rest of the family. My blog is all about the legal aspects of child custody cases. You will find the answers to many of the questions that you have about the most difficult thing you will ever have to go through.