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A separation agreement can form the basis of a divorce decree

When marital problems develop, some California couples carefully consider their options before taking steps that they may later regret. Couples may -- for different reasons -- choose a legal separation before filing for a divorce. One of those reasons is the possibility of reconciliation. They could file for a legal separation, which will enable them to live separately without putting an end to their marriage.

A separation agreement can be established, and the court will order the responsibilities and rights of each spouse during the time of separation. A separation agreement can cover the same matters as are typically included in a final divorce decree. These may include property division, child custody, spousal support and an interim child support agreement.

If the couple does not reconcile and decides to proceed with a divorce filing, the legal separation agreement will serve as a basis for the final divorce decree with the court making a final order for child support. Both spouses would have had the opportunity to determine whether any modifications were necessary. If they were both satisfied, the separation agreement would become the divorce settlement agreement; else, the court can be asked to make the required changes.

Having a carefully drafted separation agreement can save time and money if the couple ultimately decides to file for a divorce. Valuable guidance and support can be obtained from an experienced California divorce attorney. A lawyer can consider the unique dynamics of the family before developing the documents while also providing valuable input. The attorney can also review an agreement drafted by the legal counsel of the other spouse to ensure his or her client's interests are protected.

Source: liveabout.com, "What is the Difference Between a Legal Separation and Divorce?", Cathy Meyer, Accessed on Dec. 8, 2017

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