If you and your spouse separate, you can resolve the issues arising from your separation in one of two ways –in court or out of court. At Gailor Hunt Davis Taylor & Gibbs, PLLC, we fully explore settlement as an alternative to litigation. If you and your spouse can agree on the terms of your separation, either on your own or by negotiating through lawyers, you can sign a separation agreement and property settlement and avoid the need for court hearings.
A separation agreement is a contract setting forth the terms of your separation and can include provisions for child custody and support, alimony, and the division of your marital property and debt. You and your spouse can enter into a separation agreement while you are still living together, so long as you separate shortly after executing the agreement, or at any time after you separate, and the agreement is immediately enforceable upon signing. The agreement does not need to be approved by a judge and remains enforceable as a contract even after you are divorced.
In order to ensure the fairness of a separation and property settlement agreement, you should make certain that there has been a full and fair disclosure of all assets, debts, income and financial liabilities by both spouses. In addition, the division of assets requires that most assets be valued. The most typical assets that are valued by appraisers are real estate, business interests, tangible personal property and intangible assets such as retirement benefits.
In deciding what is an appropriate amount for child support and/or spousal support, both parties should itemize their expenses based on, at least, the preceding 12 months average prior to the separation as well as their current expenses.
Gailor Hunt Davis Taylor & Gibbs, PLLC can help you identify and value assets acquired during the marriage and negotiate a fair settlement for the care and custody of your children, support and property division issues.