Separation Agreements in Maryland
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If you are interested in getting a divorce in Maryland, the courts encourage divorcing couples to voluntarily reach their own marital separation agreements. When spouses can reach a mutual agreement on all important issues, a judge can simply approve your agreement and thus finalize your divorce in a timely manner.
Common benefits of voluntary separation agreements include:
- Avoid the time-consuming and costly legal process of court litigation
- Give spouses more control of the outcome of their divorce
- Reduces the costs associated with contested divorces
- Enables couples to settle their disputes in an amicable and respectful manner
Our Annapolis attorneys at Rice Law can help you draft a legal separation agreement. We can evaluate yourfamily situation, take into account all of the assets and debts you and your spouse share, and help you create the best possible settlement. We can guide you through the complexities of Maryland law while protecting your rights and best interests.
What Should I Include in My Separation Agreement?
With the assistance of a separate lawyer representing each party, the couple creates a separation agreement by negotiating the terms of a divorce. There are some instances where couples may participate in mediation or collaborative law to ensure they obtain a mutual agreement.
The following are the most important provisions in a separation agreement:
- Agree to separate and end the marriage – The couple can mutually agree to end their marriage and voluntarily separate. Once the agreement is in effect, each spouse will relinquish all marital rights. However, the couple will remain married until a judge finalizes the divorce.
- Disclose all marital assets – The couple must disclose all marital assets and each of their separate assets (i.e. property obtained prior to the marriage or given through inheritance). Next, the couple must agree on how the property will be divided.
- Disclose all debts – The couple must also disclose all their debts. In most cases, each spouse agrees to pay their own debts. However, it is possible that both spouses must pay off a certain debt.
- Detail alimony – The couple must determine who will receive and pay spousal support and how long the payments will last. Furthermore, if either spouse wishes to waive alimony, it should be mentioned in the separation agreement.
- Detail child support – The couple must figure out who will pay child support, how much, and how often. In addition, couples must agree on how education and medical costs are shared.
- Determine child custody and visitation – The couple must determine which one will be the custodial parent (i.e. has primary custody of the children and which one will be the noncustodial parent (i.e. must pay child support). The separation agreement must include where the child will live and how often the noncustodial parent will see the child.
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Through negotiations and compromise, our lawyers at Rice Law can help couples reach a win-win separation agreement. However, if you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement, we can protect your rights and best interests throughout court litigation.
Contact us and discuss your case with our legal team for more information.