If you are having marital problems and have decided to separate, I encourage you to have a legal separation agreement signed by both parties. The process is made smoother by having the terms of the agreement handled by a certified mediator that can help you come to a resolution together.
The reason for a legal separation agreement is to protect you during a separation in case your spouse fails to live up to his/her obligations as outlined in the agreement. You want an agreement that will hold up in court should you have to go to court to have it enforced. Below are some of the financial benefits of a legal separation agreement.
- Spousal maintenance can only be claimed on a tax return only if part of a legal separation agreement. If you are separated with no legal agreement, money given to your spouse cannot be deducted from your income for tax purposes.
- A legal separation agreement can provide for certain benefits to continue, even after separation, such as a health insurance plan.
- Financials such as carrying costs for the homes and other similar items can be outlined in a legal separation agreement. These costs can include anything such as, mortgage payments, utilities, lawn care and other similar costs.
- A legal separation agreement could also state whether or not both spouses still have access to any joint accounts. It can state that all account will be closed, how the money is to be spent if the accounts remain open or how much is to be contributed to the joint account.
- Lastly, and probably the most important, a legal separation agreement will protect you from being responsible for any debt your spouse acquires during the period of separation.
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