In some cases it is just temporary, or a "trial separation", with a specified end date.
But in most cases, separation is just an interim period that is leading to divorce.
If you and your spouse are living apart for an extended period of time and a divorce is on the horizon, a separation marital agreement is highly recommended.
The concept behind this is twofold.
Marital separation agreements formalize all financial and property issues between the parties before they begin living separate lives; and, it allows them to prepare for the more permanent marital settlement agreement that will ultimately replace the separation marital agreement at the time of divorce.
Most couples do not see eye to eye on every issue relating to the dissolution of their marriage.
Even if finances are easily separated, there may be issues related to child support, custody, or pensions that are harder to resolve.
When this happens, mediation is a more civilized way to reach an agreement.
By sitting down with a mediator, a couple can make a more individualized separation marital agreement than what would come from a judge's ruling.
Plus, mediation allows couples the ability to customize an agreement to meet the needs of their family.
What is nice about having a separation marital agreement in place is how much it simplifies the divorce process later on.
Even though some things may need to be added or amended at the time of a divorce settlement, marital separation agreements pave the way for a fair settlement and allow for better communication and conflict resolution in the future.
Most attorneys recommend some form of separation marital agreement, even if you are unsure about whether you will end the marriage.
A family lawyer can help you draft a document that will be in place during your separation, and protect your assets and interests until the divorce papers are signed.