Separation agreements are usually created to settle present issues between the parties and anticipate foreseeable future issues and provide for their resolution as well. A significant number of divorce and matrimonial proceedings in Connecticut are resolved through a negotiated settlement without trial. That is beneficial since a contested proceeding often serves to prolong and heighten any anger and animosity between parties. Another advantage is that entering into a separation agreement can be substantially faster as matrimonial litigation, which can take months, can be avoided. When litigating, important issues may be left unresolved for lengthy periods of time causing emotional discomfort and trauma for the parties. A third advantage is the cost reduction. Matrimonial litigation is expensive. When litigating, parties pay for their divorce attorney’s time and may also pay for the time of other professionals such as expert witnesses, appraisers and forensic evaluators. This can increase costs by thousands of dollars.
What Makes Up A Separation Agreement
Agreements can range in length and complexity. A Separation Agreement traditionally settles all issues between the couple including financial arrangements, equitable distribution of assets, debt allocation, spousal support and for families with children a parenting plan to include decision making authority and how time will be allocated between the parents. Other issues will also be addressed such as health insurance, college financing and medical payments. It is important that an experienced family law attorney be consulted to guide you and help ensure that your legal rights are protected.
In a divorce, annulment or separation action in Connecticut, the parties file their signed agreement with the court and the matter is heard at an uncontested hearing. The Judge will review the agreement and is required to inquire into the financial resources and needs of the couple and their fitness to have custody of or rights of parental access to the children in order to find that the agreement is fair and equitable. This inquiry by the court is to ensure that the agreement is substantially fair and has been willingly negotiated.
What Legal Requirements Are Required In A Separation Agreement?
The law requires this level of scrutiny particularly when there are concerns about custody, care, education, parenting, maintenance and/or support of the parties’ children, or concerns about financial matters such as alimony or equitable disposition of property. Connecticut law requires that the judge either accept or reject the agreement. If the Court finds that the agreement is fair and equitable it will be incorporated by reference into the final judgment. Thereafter the judgment is fully enforceable by the parties.
There is a psychological advantage to the parties when entering into a separation agreement that often carries through to future communications and relationships with each other. When a party voluntarily agrees to perform an obligation, that party may be more likely to follow through on the commitment than if a judge ordered that party to perform the obligation. Also when the parties have been able to successfully enter into an agreement about important aspects of the divorce, there is a higher likelihood that they might cooperate constructively in the future when inevitable differences arise.
Family Law Issues Handled in Fairfield County
The Law Offices of Judith Goldberg may be able to assist you with the following legal issues: