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Separation Agreements

"Legal separation" as a formal legal status does not exist in Massachusetts. There is divorce, and there are marriages that continue but clarify separation of assets and responsibilities by way of separation agreements.


While a judgment of divorce ends the marriage, a judgment of separate support or custody leaves the marriage technically intact. There are a number of reasons for which people seek and craft separation agreements in order to obtain judgments of separate support. For example:


* A marriage has ended emotionally and practically speaking, but a couple is not ready for a full-scale divorce.
* An estranged husband and wife are living separate lives, but one needs to stay on the other's health insurance.
* Property division in a divorce may be complex and require a long period of time to resolve, as when spouses own businesses, have complicated investments and own real estate that is hard to sell or divide.


A separate support order or complaint for custody will most likely address the same issues as a divorce does, including custody, visitation, child support, alimony and division of property.


Contact an experienced, well-qualified family law attorney to discuss your particular marital situation and your perceived need for a separation agreement. At the Law Offices of Richard C. Woods we regularly guide clients through the legal maze of a family law matters, including divorce and child custody.


When the Law Offices of Richard C. Woods assists you in crafting a separation agreement, we are prepared to provide more than just a single attorney to advise you. Your separation agreement may involve extensive negotiations. We are qualified to develop and present winning strategies for use in negotiations or in court to help you protect your rights and assets when your marriage is to be redefined through a separation agreement. Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation.


A separation agreement may be kept private as prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are, or it may be filed with the court in pursuit of a judgment of separate support. A separation agreement spells out how you and your husband or wife will resolve custody of children, visits, support of children, property division (including alimony and pensions), possession of the marital home, division of debts and 209A protective orders. A separation agreement is good when both spouses sign it properly.


Your separation agreement may later serve as the basis of a divorce judgment.


Beware of any idea of crafting a "temporary order" type of separation agreement with hopes of amending it at a later time. A divorce judge is likely to take the established status quo as spelled out in a separation agreement as a foundation of an acceptable divorce decree.

Contact the Law Office of Richard C. Woods to schedule a frank discussion of your proposed separation agreement.

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