Warkentine Law Office Family Law & Estate Planning Services

Divorce and legal separation: the separation agreement

For some Colorado couples, the decision to end a marriage is not as simple as getting a divorce and moving on. Some will want to separate for a time to see if they are happier outside the marriage or would like to try to repair it. This is one situation in which it can be beneficial to have a separation agreement. There are other reasons why a couple might want to separate. Certain legal factors should be considered in the context of a legal separation. This is why understanding divorce and family law can be critical to a case and whether a legal separation leads to divorce or not.

With a legal separation, there can be an agreement between the parties as to how maintenance will be handled, property division, parental concerns, child support and parenting time. When negotiating a separation agreement, the terms will be binding except for parenting time, parental responsibilities and support. The economic factors of both sides will be assessed as part of the agreement. The court will also consider evidence that is presented. This is to decide if the agreement is unfair (unconscionable).

Should the court decide that the agreement is unconscionable, it can ask the parties to revise the agreement or the court can make its own orders for maintenance, support and property division. Once the court decides that the agreement is fair, the terms will be set in the decree unless the agreement states otherwise.

If the agreement states that the provisions will not be in the decree, it will say that the court does not view the terms as unfair. The court can use all remedies at its disposal to enforce the agreement. There will be a limit on how the agreement can be modified except for support, parenting time and decision-making responsibility.

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