Whether you decide to negotiate the terms of your separation agreement on your own or with the assistance of a third-party, it is important to get certain things finalized before calling it a day. This is for your own future well-being. It can be tempting to leave things undone because it is emotionally and psychologically draining to attend to the terms of a separation agreement, however, to save yourself headache and heartache later on here are somethings we suggest you should absolutely finalize before resting your weary heart and brain:
1. Shared Property
Figure out what you are going to do with any property you share. If you own a house or land together, determine what will happen with the property and attend to signing any title transfer documents as soon as possible. It is okay if negotiating your property division takes a long time, but it is important to decide what is happening with all shared property prior to applying for a divorce. If you leave property as a loose end and finalize your divorce you may forget about shared property and if you are still on title and maybe even listed on the mortgage this can be problematic for you in the future.
Some people will need spousal support to move forward with their lives. To avoid having to pay retroactive support, which can be financially devastating, determine how support will be paid and in what amount as soon as feasible. It is normal for this to be a difficult conversation and for this negotiation to take long time, but as previously mentioned, if it is not figured out until later the amount payable can be quite significant.
If you have children, work together to figure out how the children will be provided for. Child support is the right of the child and it is important to figure out the details as soon as possible so the children can continue to be provided for in the same way they were when their parents were together.
There are times when separations do not result in divorce. It is helpful while negotiating the terms of your separation that you discuss if the separation is leading to a divorce. If you do want to get a divorce, it will beneficial for you to sort out the details of how that will be attended to. Once you have parted ways with your spouse it may be difficult to be in contact with each other, and if you lose contact with one another it might be expensive or complicated to finalize the divorce.
If you have your spouse listed on your benefit plan, it is important to have the conversation about if they can remain on the plan or if they will be removed. Some plans require separated spouses to remove their former significant other from the plan, while others may allow you to have your spouse listed until a divorce is finalized. This discussion is important to have because it might be financially significant for the spouse being removed from the plan and they may have to make new arrangements for their healthcare.
Many insurance policies will need to be updated when a separation occurs. If you want to change beneficiaries, cancel an insurance plan, or change ownership there will likely be paperwork that needs to be signed. Attending to these details while you are working on the terms of your separation agreement is helpful so that you don't find yourself in a bind later on if you can't get a hold of your former spouse.
If you have children together you will need to work on a parenting plan. Parenting plans will likely need to be updated regularly and will usually change over time as your children grow. It is helpful for separating parents to work out the basics in their initial negotiations about their separation and remain flexible throughout the years as adjustments need to be made. Some parents find it helpful to put in their separation agreement when their parenting plan will be reviewed and updated; this can help avoid confusion and conflict later on.
7. Sentimental Items
Many couples have items that have high sentimental value, but low substantive value. Figuring out what will be done with these types of items while you negotiate the terms of your separation can be helpful. It can be difficult to remember where things have been kept and to avoid future conflict it is often helpful to determine who is going to take which items.
Sometimes upon the closure of a spousal relationship there are things that need to be done, such as cancelling insurance policies, updated benefit plans, closing bank accounts, etc. It is helpful for separating spouses to decide who will do which task while they are negotiating the terms of their separation; this can help to reduce the likelihood that anything gets forgotten.
When a couple separates there might be costs associated with the separation. It is helpful for separating spouses to determine who will pay for what so that one spouse doesn't feel like they are paying for everything and the other spouse is not contributing.
Many couples carry shared debt or debt is held in one person's name, but the credit was used for the benefit of the couple as a whole. When negotiating the terms of a separation it is helpful to figure out how debts will be settled and how each spouse will contribute. It is common for this to be a difficult and uncomfortable conversation, but it is important to figure this out during the initial separation to avoid interest accumulating among other problems that could occur.
We hope you found this brief list helpful - for more help with separation, contact us to book a consultation: firstname.lastname@example.org