If you are thinking about getting separated in Greenville, South Carolina, the Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC are separation lawyers who can help you draft a separation agreement that will protect your rights. Divorce is the legal process that formally ends a marriage, however, unless you have either been separated a year already, or have one of the fault grounds that allows you to file for a divorce right away, you may need to file for an “order of separate support and maintenance”. Separation is not a legal status. Therefore, if you separate from your partner, you may not be granted some of the important protections that divorce provides. What are some of these protections? When couples get divorced, they are legally no longer married, which means that any financial decisions either partner makes no longer has legal or financial ramifications on the other person. Any debts your partner takes on, any money your partner spends, or any withdrawals from shared retirement accounts your partner makes during your separation could have financial consequences for both partners when you are not formally divorced. A formal separation agreement can grant both parties important protections. In South Carolina, this process is referred to as an “Order of Separate Support and Maintenance”.
Furthermore, if you are getting separated and plan to live in separate houses, you’ll have to make decisions about what happens to the family home. If you have children, you’ll need to put a child custody plan in place and the non-custodial parent may be responsible for paying child support. Finally, if you will live apart from your partner, you could be entitled to receive spousal support. Have questions about the legal and financial ramifications of your separation in Greenville, South Carolina? Contact the Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, separation lawyers in Greenville, South Carolina today.
What Should Be Included in Your Separation Agreement?
If you are considering getting separated in Greenville, South Carolina, you may want to speak to the separation agreement lawyers at the Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys. While there are template separation agreements available online, these agreements may not always consider your unique needs and concerns, nor might they include updated changes in the tax laws, such as non-taxability of alimony. The Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys can take the time to understand your unique needs and draft a separation agreement that will best meet your needs. What should you consider including in your separation agreement? Here are some things you may want to include:
- Split Debts. Any debts that were incurred during the marriage will likely be considered marital, and both parties may be required to contribute to same. The Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys can help you determine which debts are individual debts and which are marital debts. Because separation doesn’t provide the same legal protections as divorce, it may also be important to specify your separation date and to note that any debts taken out by either party post-separation should be considered separate debts and not marital debts. Without a clearly-worded separation agreement, any debts either party takes out after the separation could be considered marital debts by the courts, so it is important to take steps to protect your rights and financial life.
- If you are getting separated, you might want to clearly divide accounts.
- Retirement Accounts and Investments. Early withdrawals from certain types of retirement accounts can leave the both of you with hefty tax bills. You and your former partner can take steps to properly divide your retirement accounts or take steps to protect these accounts if you are getting separated.
- Property and Real Estate. If you and your partner own a home together or own shared property, you’ll need to make decisions about how this property will be divided if you are getting divorced. In some cases, former couples choose to sell the marital home, while in other instances, one party buys out the other partner’s share in the home. What you choose will depend on your assets, your property, and your ability to manage the home’s expenses on your own. Sometimes couples simply specify their plans for the marital home. For example, if you plan to sell the home, details about how this will proceed may be specified in the separation agreement.
- Child Custody and Child Support. If you and your former partner will be living in separate homes, your separation agreement should also include a parenting plan for your children. Whether you are getting divorced or separated, your parenting plan should be equally as thorough as it would be for a divorce agreement and should consider where your children will primarily live, how major decisions for the children will be made, and how visitation will be arranged. If one parent will have primary custody of the children, then the parenting plan may also need to make arrangements for child support.
- Many couples choose to separate rather than get divorced because it allows both parties to continue to access insurance. If this is the case, you may want to include insurance access in your separation agreement.
- Spousal Support. If you think you may be entitled to receive alimony after your divorce, you may be entitled to receive spousal support during your separation. The Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys are separation lawyers in Greenville, South Carolina who can help you understand what amounts you might be entitled to receive and write your separation agreement so that spousal support is considered.
These are just some issues that should be addressed in your separation agreement. Every couple’s needs will be unique and different. Speak to the Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys in Greenville, South Carolina today to learn more.
Should I Get Separated or Divorced in South Carolina?
Divorce is a legal process by which a marriage is formally ended. Separation does not confer the same legal benefits. However, some couples may choose to get separated before they get divorced for many reasons. In South Carolina, you are required to be separated in order to be able to file for an Order of Separate Support and Maintenance. This is what allows you to obtain relief pending the one year separation, which is important when there are child related issues, support related issues, or division of property and/or debt related matters. Some couples may not be sure they want to get divorced and may want to spend a trial period apart. Others may stay married because marriage confers certain tax and insurance benefits. If you are considering getting separated, it is still important to take steps to protect yourself financially and legally. A well-written separation agreement can serve as the foundation of your divorce agreement. While divorce will grant both parties the greatest degree of protection and legal rights (including the ability to get remarried), sometimes couples choose to get separated first or must be separated first in order to obtain a divorce (based upon a one year continuous separation, for example). The Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys are divorce lawyers in Greenville, South Carolina who may be able to help you with your separation agreement and divorce agreement.