Separation Agreements – Making Your Divorce Easier

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    russellemieux8
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    Divorce ratio in New Zealand in recent past is plunging down due to careful consideration of married couples and de-facto couples.
    This shows couples general concern to make this bond free of any ambiguity and doing so separation agreements and prenups are playing there part. So what exactly a separation agreement do. As we all know in recent past how financial fragility has taken over our daily lives.

    A separation agreement ensures amicable distribution of roles and finances in case of separation or divorce or even setting up benchmarks before entering into a relationship. The law on separation and dissolution is contained in the family proceedings act 1980.

    This is an agreement that can help to avoid any misunderstandings later.
    It may cover issues such as day-to-day care of and contact with children, division of any property, and record the date of your separation.

    A separation agreement may be verbal or written down. If the agreement covers division of property, a lawyer must certify that each spouse or civil union partner has received independent legal advice.

    A separation means you are still legally married or in a civil union but have agreed to live separately.

    If this is what you have both agreed to do, you can arrange a separation agreement or apply to the Family Court for a Separation Order.

    Before couples sought separation Local Family courts provide them an opportunity for counseling in order to sort out issue amicably.

    Is the agreement legally binding?

    A separation agreement is a legally enforceable contract.
    However, there are two arrangements that over-ride it.

    If the agreement deals with property issues, there are procedural requirements that the deed must satisfy in order to be legally valid.If the agreement deals with arrangements for children, the agreement does over ride legal decisions made later in the court.

    In making decisions about child care arrangements, the court will be concerned only with what is in the best interests of the children.

    What is a Separation Order?

    This is an order made by the Family Court. If you have a Separation Order, you are free of any obligation to live with your spouse or civil union partner.
    However, if you and your spouse or civil union partners have children, you both still have legal responsibilities as parents.

    A Separation Order is not necessary to:

    Qualify for the domestic purposes benefit.Dissolve your marriage or civil union (get a divorce).

    Are separation orders necessary for separation?

    If both you and your spouse or civil union partner agree to separate, a Separation Order is not necessary.However, if you want to separate and your spouse or civil union partner does not, you can apply to the Family Court for a Separation order.

    After you apply for a Separation Order, the Family Court will arrange counseling for you and your spouse or civil union partner. At a counseling session, you can discuss matters such as shared property and care arrangements for your children. You may not have to attend counseling if your spouse or civil union partner has used violence against you or a child of the marriage, or you have attended counseling in the last 12 months.

    Do I need to have a separation agreement or separation order to make an application?

    If you do have a separation order from the Court, or you have made a written separation agreement between the two of you, then you should provide a copy of it with your application to dissolve your marriage or civil union.However, separation order or written separation agreement are not required to make an application to dissolve your marriage or civil union.

    What if we got back together for a while after we first separated?

    You can live together for a total of three months within the two year separation period if you can satisfy the Court that the main reason for this was to get back together (“reconciliation”)you can get back together more than once, as long as the total time together is not more than three months.

    What to include

    Strictly speaking a separation agreement is simply an agreement to live apart; however, they often include other aspects such as:

    The maintenance of one spouse or partner by the other arrangements for day-to-day care of or contact with children of the relationship;Finances ;The marital home;How personal property is to be divided.

    Requirements for separation agreements dealing with personal property

    If the valid agreement deals with the division of ‘relationship’ property (real estate), it will override the provisions of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976.

    To be valid the agreement must:

    Be in writing;Signed by both parties;Have been made following independent legal advice;Have been signed and witnessed by a solicitor, who must certify that the effect and implications of the agreement were explained to the signing party.

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