When a marriage is over, it can cause conflict and stress for everyone in the family, including the children. Pennsylvania couples facing the prospect of divorce may wish to move through this process slowly, making smart and practical decisions. If divorce is not an immediate option or you are unsure if you want to move forward with it, you may consider the option for a separation.
While there is no “legal separation” in Pennsylvania, you can choose to live separately. This can allow both parties the time needed to carefully consider the terms of a future divorce or simply live separately if divorce is not an option.
Why consider separation?
One party moving out of the home is not a legal separation. In order to clearly define your rights and obligations, you will need to create a separation agreement. Like divorce agreements, it is possible to craft these with the goal of protecting the interests of every member of the family while addressing specific needs.
Divorce is a major life event, and there are many reasons why a couple would want to wait or refrain from taking that step. A separation agreement outlines the rights of each party, as well as financial obligations, such as child support and spousal support. Some of the factors you may need to consider in your separation agreement include the following:
- Child custody and visitation schedules
- The division of marital property
- Spousal maintenance, which is like spousal support for the separation period
It is beneficial to thoughtfully consider everything you include in this agreement. If you decide to move forward with divorce, your separation agreement may be the foundation for a positive and sustainable divorce agreement.
Protecting your interests starts now
As with any type of legal agreement, it is prudent to avoiding signing anything without careful review and consideration of how it will affect your life. When separating, you have to address all major factors related to your children and financial responsibilities, and you may find it helpful to seek experienced guidance as you work through this process. Before you agree to anything, you may seek an explanation of your rights and options.