Q: Planning divorce - working on separation agreement, how simple can it be? Can we just agree to make no claims?
If we can't just say something along the lines of: "everything is divided the way we want, we are and will remain happy with this agreement." would a judge just throw that out when it came time to file the divorce? For context, currently she is a student with no income and upon separation will be cohabitating with a new boyfriend, and I receive VA disability and 100-500/month teaching.
A: A lawyer cannot represent both parties in preparing a separation agreement. Either spouse can agree to separate, live separate lives as if unmarried, and waive or give up their rights against the other in a written separation agreement. The court will look out for the rights of minor children, and any provisions concerning custody, visitation, or child support between the parents are not binding on the court. Aside from those matters, the court really does not care about what the spouses agree to, as long as it is not illegal or in violation of the public policy of the state.
Nevertheless, there are risks to enforcement of an improper written separation agreement. If a separation agreement is so unfair on its face as to shock the conscience of the court, it may later be set aside by an aggrieved party. It may also be set aside for fraud, duress, and other contract grounds.
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A: Your agreement can be as simple as you wish it to be.
For example, we represent clients who are newly married, have no children or real estate interests, and maintained their employment and separate finances for the short duration of their marriage.
To qualify for a six month divorce, the parties must have a written agreement that resolves all issues.
We prepare simple agreements that note there is no real estate, the personal property, both tangible and intangible, has be satisfactorily divided, and there is not support or health insurance obligation.
We add that there are no issues but granting the divorce for the court to perform.
The court accepts the agreement and grants the divorce after six months separation.
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