Separation is never an easy process for couples to go through. Not only is it emotionally difficult, but it can be legally difficult too. For couple wanting to separate, knowing what steps to take before filing for separation is crucial.
What Does Separation Mean?
In this state, the law requires that spouses live separately for one year before continuing the divorce. What does living separately mean? It means that couples need to reside in different houses before they can qualify for a no-fault divorce. During this time the couples cannot share a house for any reason. Filing for separation will only be able to move forward if couples make plans to move into separate residences.
After a couple has taken separate residences, they will need to start going through their finances. As individuals, they will not be able to hold joint accounts after the divorce. It is important during this time to start gathering together a financial plan that will last into the separation and divorce. Couples need to determine a variety of things. Equally splitting any assets involved is the most important part. Assets are anything that the couple owns together. Things like the house, cars, financial accounts, and any other possessions qualify as assets. When a couple separates they will no longer be able to share ownership of these things, so they need to decide who will take what.
Along with determining who takes what, couples need to determine who will pay any debts that are owed. This can cover anything from mortgage to car payments to personal loans that are due. Couples who are separated cannot continue to work together to pay these off. The responsibility has to be given to one spouse. It is up to the couple to determine who is in the best place financially to handle the burden of debt. Neither spouse has to take on all of the debt though. It can be split between spouses with one taking the house payment, another taking a car payment, etc.
Going Through Your Finances
Couples will also need to create separate accounts for everything. Joint accounts will no longer be valid when the couple is not together. Couples need to go through and first close any joint accounts. These include all accounts, checking, savings, credit, etc. Then they need to move their individual finances into new accounts that belong solely to them. Couples also need to set budgets for themselves for after the separation. Regardless of how much each spouse makes, the amount of income will be lower than before. To stay financially stable during this time, spouses will need to know how much income will be coming in and budget accordingly. This way neither one will enter single life with financial struggles.
We Help You Navigate Separation Agreements
Separation will be a difficult process in many ways for everyone involved. But planning for the separation will help the couple to transition smoothly. If you or someone you know is looking to enter into separation, contact Christine Howard today. Christine and her team of attorneys will be glad to answer any questions that you have about the separation process. Christine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (864) 282-8575.
Referenced from “9 Things to do Before You File for a Divorce” by Cathy Meyer