You have decided to divorce – now what? Because spouses are typically required to live separate and apart for a year prior to divorce in South Carolina, it is best to have a contract governing the terms of the separation before the final divorce decree is entered. Separation Agreements set expectations for both spouses while they are living apart. And, because Separation Agreements in South Carolina are approved by the Court, these documents can also resolve issues long after your divorce is granted.
The Benefits of Marital Settlement or a Separation Agreement
Separation Agreements offer the advantage of being customizable to a couple’s particular needs and the needs of the family. Spouses usually understand the needs and circumstances of their family life better than a judge can, and most of the time parents know what schedule works best for their children. It is usually more advantageous for soon to be ex-couples to work together with their attorneys to create an agreement that works for them. From there, they can begin to navigate the transition to divorce.
Separation Agreements can also help each party understand exactly what they are keeping in property and assets before the separation has even occurred, or soon thereafter. In fact, for many, Separation Agreements can eliminate the “shock” effect or the feared “snatch and grab” by one party over the other. Separation Agreements are often quicker and less expensive than even a temporary court hearing. If the couple can arrive at an agreement between themselves, or through negotiations with counsel, they are usually more satisfied with the results while also minimizing expenses and stress – including the required mediation costs and time.
While it can be beneficial for spouses to reach an agreement on terms of the separation themselves, we know that the process of negotiating can be exhausting. Communication can be more difficult when people are facing separation and the inevitable discussions of the most important and intimate parts of their life. Framing the future for you, your spouse, and your children so that each of you know exactly what to expect can serve as the ice breaker for communication for years to come. While the task of communicating can seem daunting, an experienced and compassionate family law attorney can help make the process as easy as possible while crafting solutions for you and your family—even if those are not routine and normal occurrences—because after all, your Separation Agreement should be as unique as your family.
A Steppingstone Towards Reconciliation or Divorce
In some instances, Separation Agreements pave the way to spouses acknowledging that reconciliation is what they desire. During the separation period, the underlying issues that were troublesome can be resolved and spouses can re-commit to working towards reconciliation. Meanwhile, the separation agreement remains in place to define the parameters around how they will operate and share responsibilities until such time that a reconciliation happens, and a single-family unit is restored.
For others though, the reality is that while reconciliation may happen, it is not the norm. Your Separation Agreement, when well negotiated, carefully drafted, and then properly approved by Court, serves as the steppingstones toward a more calm, well-planned divorce and the life that follows. While facing separation decisions can be overwhelming, relying on your experienced family law attorney throughout your separation and divorce should be a priority.
Setting the Stage for a Successful Divorce in South Carolina
When a settlement agreement is successfully negotiated and carefully drafted, it can serve the parties’ intentions during separation and beyond. At Sodoma Law York, we remain involved with our clients throughout their separation, helping them navigate all the issues involved with a separation and marital dissolution. We can facilitate the completion of the divorce process and pave the way for our clients to transition confidently into their post-divorce lives. If done well, marital dissolution can be a new fresh start to your future.
If you and your spouse are contemplating divorce, or your spouse has presented you with a Separation Agreement in South Carolina, Sodoma Law York can help.