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Understanding the role and procedure of separation agreements

Nevada couples who are seeking a divorce may be interested in learning more about separation agreements. These agreements can be very helpful in getting the couple's understanding of many issues in writing before moving forward with the divorce.

When a couple is thinking about divorcing and seeking a legal separation, they may sign an agreement that covers various legal issues between them, including child custody, spousal support and other matters. This contract is known as a separation agreement or a separate maintenance agreement. The agreement is not limited to these common issues, however. A couple can memorialize their understanding as to who takes care of pets and important child rearing issues in the agreement, as well. A separation agreement is technically a post-nuptial agreement, since it is made after the couple is married but before they divorce.

Though they are often used interchangeably, the separation agreement is also distinct from a divorce settlement agreement. While both are generally presented to a court during a hearing on the separation or divorce, the separation agreement is strictly a pre-divorce agreement. Often, the separation agreement is incorporated into the divorce agreement, particularly when the terms of the split remain the same. With both agreements, a judge will scrutinize the terms to ensure that there is no evidence of fraud or duress in the making of the agreement.

In situations where a client is contemplating divorce, an experienced family law attorney will be familiar with legal separation procedures. The advice and counsel of such an attorney will be helpful in negotiating and memorializing a separate maintenance agreement as a prelude to the divorce process.

Source: DivorceSupport.com, "Separation Agreements", September 15, 2014

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