A separation agreement process is often used to address financial issues like dividing assets and debts, and to determine whether one spouse will pay or receive spousal support. It can also be useful in the event of a job-related split, such as when a company offers a severance package. It is important for couples to carefully examine severance agreements, however, because Massachusetts law requires that an agreement contain “consideration,” or an exchange of value. If the severance package does not include money, it may be impossible to turn the severance agreement into an enforceable contract.
Separation agreements can be helpful in other situations, too. Darren Shapiro has found that they are particularly useful when two parties are contemplating divorce but need additional assistance with the financial aspects of their case. For example, the terms of a separation agreement can help to clarify whether or not a couple plans to sell their home and if so, who will be responsible for mortgage payments, utilities and property taxes during the time of separation.
Moreover, a separation agreement can become the basis for a final divorce decree, if divorce becomes inevitable. In such cases, the negotiated terms of the separation agreement will often make it easier for a couple to settle their case and avoid lengthy litigation. However, it is important to remember that separation does not return either party to single status, and both parties should keep each other listed on their health and life insurance policies. separation agreement process