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Are you considering a change in your marriage, but a divorce or a formal separation seems premature? Perhaps you want to start a conversation about separation but have no idea where or how to start. Commencing a legal action may feel hostile and unnecessarily aggressive. It’s probable that you think the relationship can be saved. Or, you believe it cannot be repaired but jumping into a divorce seems like a big leap at this point. Maybe you want to see how the kids and your spouse (and you!) handle an initial step. Where do you start and what kind of issues should be tackled? There are three agreements that could help alleviate the stress associated with divorce and separation. 

Moving out agreement

These agreements allow one party to vacate the family home without jeopardizing his or her rights to ultimately occupy the home or spend a majority of time with the children. With such an agreement, the parties can agree on rules, such as access to the home, method, and scope of communication and a temporary parenting schedule. 

Funding of the move and expenses for both households are agreed upon and can be spelled out, with various levels of budget analysis, depending on a couples’ needs. 

Sharing a martial home agreement

In a shared home agreement, we create rules or guidelines for use of the joint home, to achieve a more peaceful co-existence. As with all of these agreements, there is a range of how detailed to be, based on need and comfort levels. You can negotiate a private space for each parent, or an arrangement to vacate according to a schedule, so each parent can relax when at home, especially if caring for children at the time. 

Sometimes the unknown can create tremendous anxiety that can be avoided with a little planning and forethought. 

It’s important to keep in mind one solution will not work for every couple, and it could take a blend of solutions to find common ground. It is also important for couples to understand the legal implications of these agreements. Parties should make informed decisions and know when they may be waiving legal rights or taking on obligations exceeding their legal duties.

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