For couples who aren't sure a Pasadena divorce is in their best interests, sometimes a legal separation gives them the chance to think things over and make a more informed decision about whether or not the marriage is worth saving. However, it's important to realize that a legal separation does have consequences.
You won't be able to get married to someone else after filing a legal separation, but legal separation agreements need to discuss all of the issues that you would have to settle if you decided to divorce. This includes the division of marital property, custody of any minor children from the marriage, visitation rights for non-custodial parents, alimony or spousal maintenance, and how to divide debts accumulated during the marriage.
If a couple agrees on everything and does not have any significant assets or debts, free legal separation agreement forms from an online website may be sufficient. However, it is rare that a couple has no points of disagreement. And, if you have trouble articulating your view to your spouse, you may find it hard to negotiate effectively during the process of drawing up an agreement. Seeking qualified legal representation helps ensure that your interests are protected.
Generally, each person should have their own Pasadena matrimonial lawyer to represent them in the legal separation. Sharing a lawyer is not advised because there is a potential for a conflict of interest. Even if you are hoping that you and your spouse eventually reconcile, you need to be prepared for all possible outcomes.
If you are worried about the cost, you can use free legal separation forms as the start for your agreement and simply have a lawyer look over everything to make sure the forms will stand up in court. Another alternative is to hire a mediator who can assist you in coming up with a fair settlement, then arrange for the agreement to be drawn up by the appropriate legal counsel.
Sometimes, if you later decide to divorce your spouse, a judge will apply the terms of the legal separation agreement to your divorce settlement. Therefore, it is imperative that you do not agree to any settlement that you would find unsatisfactory if asked to live with on a permanent basis.