A Separation and Property Settlement Agreement (“Separation Agreement”) is a contract that resolves all or some of the issues that should be resolved as part of your divorce and custody case. The range of issues that can be dealt with in a Separation Agreement include, but are not limited to, date of separation, grounds for divorce, division of assets (real and personal property), alimony, as well as custody and child support if the parties have a minor child or children together.
I encourage my clients to settle their differences and reach a fair and reasonable agreement if possible. Judges often address the parties in open court and let them know that a good agreement is one that makes neither party completely happy but is good enough for them to live by it; each party must receive some of things that they want in an agreement but not everything.
Resolving your differences and reaching an agreement is an extremely difficult task if your case and situation is highly contentious and emotional; however, settling your case may be wise once you consider that the alternative is a protracted litigation that will demand further emotional and financial investment on your part, not to mention the stress of trial and having to take days off from work to attend various court hearings, trials, and depositions. However, I advise my clients to reach an agreement and settle their cases only if their heart is really in it and they can truly live by it. It will not help anyone to sign an agreement only to postpone the “fight” to a future date regarding certain issues that are subject to change even after the case is completed such as child custody, child support, modifiable alimony, etc.
A Separation Agreement is a great way to minimize your legal costs as well as the stress and anxiety of going to court; it further helps you gain closure and move on with the rest of your life which should be among your top priorities, if not the top priority. You should keep in mind that “divorce courts” are not in the business of addressing your emotional issues or punishing your spouse for their shortcomings and failures. In my experience, the courts usually focus on the financial issues in divorce cases and the best interest of the minor children in custody cases. You should therefore settle your case if favorable or fair and reasonable terms can be negotiated regarding the various issues in your divorce and custody case and avoid prolonging it to “get a pound of flesh,” or to settle personal scores.
Feel free to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org; 301-309-9002) to set up an appointment and discuss your case.