When Colorado couples decide that they are set to part ways and move forward with a separation or divorce, a common strategy to avoid rancor and dispute is to have a separation agreement. This can be useful in several ways and those who are contemplating divorce or have already made the decision should consider it for the good of everyone involved. If the couple is relatively amicable, it is wise to negotiate to avoid an extended case. Understanding the law is essential when thinking about a separation agreement.
The goal is to provide for the maintenance of either party and to determine who gets the various properties from the marriage. The separation agreement can also address parenting responsibilities, support issues and parenting time, but these issues cannot be binding while maintenance and property division can be binding. It cannot be binding if the court finds that the economic situation or any other factor makes the agreement unfair to either party. This is also known as an unconscionable agreement.
When the agreement is found to be unconscionable, it can ask that there be a revised separation agreement. The court can also make its own orders for support, maintenance and property. If the court does not find that it is unconscionable, it will be placed in the decree for divorce or legal separation and will need to be adhered to. A separation agreement can say that its terms will not be in the decree. Then the separation agreement will be identified and state that the court finds that the terms are not unconscionable. If the agreement is not adhered to, the court can take steps to enforce them. There can be limits on modifications or they can be precluded except for issues with children.
If a couple is on good enough terms that they can negotiate a separation agreement, it will generally be beneficial in multiple ways. They can avoid the lengthy and costly court case and part ways relatively amicably. To consider a separation agreement, understand how it should be structured and ensure that it is not unconscionable, contacting a family law attorney experienced in divorce and other aspects of ending a marriage should be the first step.