It is common for some Maryland couples who think they might want to divorce to first want a separation in order to make their determination about whether or not ending their marriage is appropriate for them. Legal separation is different from an informal separation in which one spouse simply moves out. Even though two spouses may live apart, the marriage contract still controls.
If you are thinking about separating from your spouse, a legal separation agreement may offer you some protections until you decide whether or not you want to file for a divorce. Legal separation agreements are formal documents that are enforceable. You can use them to agree with your spouse about a number of different issues with which you will need to contend during your separation period.
If you have children, you will need to determine custody, parenting time and child support when you are living separately. You may also need to determine whether or not one of you will need to pay the other spousal support. Deciding who will use the family's vehicles and home during the separation is also something you might want to include. If you do decide to divorce, you can use your separation agreement to forge a full divorce settlement agreement later on so that you can avoid messy and expensive litigation.
We are often able to help our clients reach legal separation agreements that work for them. This can help to protect your rights while you are separated. If you later do decide to divorce, we are often able to modify the separation agreement so that it can be entered as part of the final divorce orders by the court. If you want to learn more about legal separation, you might want to review our page on the subject.