Maryland Separation Agreements Lawyer
A separation agreement is a legally binding document that details your obligations and rights during a separation and your subsequent divorce proceedings. It can also address obligations and rights after the divorce. It is rolled into the court-issued Judgment of Absolute Divorce, which means it is also enforceable by the court who issued the divorce judgment.
Couples can draft their own separation agreements, which is where a skilled Maryland separation agreements lawyer can help. At Henault & Sysko Chartered, our attorneys can help guide you through the process and prepare a comprehensive separation agreement. This amicable resolution is a better alternative to fighting it out in the courtroom and leaving important decisions to the judge’s discretion. A comprehensive separation agreement will be legally enforceable if the judge approves it and it becomes part of your final divorce decree, giving you more power over your own divorce.
Legal Separation in Maryland
Maryland offers something known as a “Limited Divorce,” which offers the same protections and rights as a legal separation. You are still legally married but would petition the court regarding decisions related to child custody, child support, alimony, and property settlements. This is a viable alternative to an absolute divorce for when couples are not ready to formally end their marriage, or cannot divorce for religious, financial, or moral reasons. In addition, there is the option for couples to eventually reconcile if they choose.
Your separation agreement will address important topics like property and other assets, debts, and any child related issues that need discussing. It can discuss who will live in the marital residence, where the children will stay, who will be responsible for the mortgage and other monthly bills, whether there is alimony and/or child support to be paid, etc.
Depending on your situation, a separation agreement can still be a complex document, which is why you shouldn’t attempt to prepare one on your own. One flexible element of separation agreements is that you can include elements that are beyond a court’s control to enforce. Once they are part of the separation agreement, the court may enforce them. Examples include life insurance protection and paying for a child’s college education.
Once a separation agreement has been rolled into a divorce decree, it can be enforced in several ways, such as a contempt hearing or as an independent contract dispute.
When a Separation Agreement Might be Deemed Invalid
In general, once the court approves the agreement, it is legally binding. But, like other contracts, separation agreements are voidable and therefore subject to cancelation or annulment. There are very select circumstances where the court may opt to decide the agreement was signed under duress, undue influence or was obtained through fraudulent means.
The courts won’t approve a separation agreement that contains any language that involves illegal acts or goes against public policy.
Contact a Maryland Separation Agreement Attorney Today
If you have questions about limited divorce in Maryland, or need assistance negotiating terms for a separation agreement, it’s crucial to have an experienced Maryland separation agreement attorney on your side. Don’t attempt to go at it alone. Let the skilled family law attorneys at Henault & Sysko Chartered help. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation.