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What is a Separation Agreement?
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Ohio Family Lawyers Assisting Clients with Separation Agreements
If you are planning to go through a dissolution of marriage in Ohio, you will need to have a separation agreement. In addition, a separation agreement can be used if you want to formally separate from your spouse but do not plan to file for divorce or to pursue a dissolution of marriage at this point in time. Since the term “separation agreement” can have different meanings in different states, it is critical to learn more about this document in Ohio and when it is used and required. Our Ohio separation agreement attorneys can provide you with more information about separation agreements in the state and can begin working with you today on your separation agreement.
Separation Agreements in Ohio
In some states, separation agreements are informal documents that spouses might develop when there is no process in the state for a legal separation. In these states, a separation agreement might be necessary to have a legal basis for dividing property. Typically, in states in which there is no process for a legal separation, separation agreements cannot include issues about child custody or the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities. Instead, those issues would need to go through a separate child custody proceeding. In other words, the separation agreement in states other than Ohio works like any other contract between two people, but may not be directly connected to a divorce case and typically will not include child custody issues.
Under Ohio law, a separation agreement can serve two functions. First, if parties want to have a legal separation (but are not yet ready to consider divorce or dissolution of marriage), they can enter into a separation agreement, and that document can govern aspects of the legal separation that is ultimately granted by the court. Second, if the parties want to get a dissolution of marriage, they will need to enter into a separation agreement before they can move forward with the process for dissolution of marriage under Ohio law. To be clear, if you want to file for a dissolution of marriage you will need to have a separation agreement in place.
What the Separation Agreement Must Include in an Ohio Dissolution
When you are planning to file for a dissolution of marriage with your spouse, you will need to craft a separation agreement. What needs to be included in the agreement? Ohio specifies that separation agreements required for a dissolution of marriage must include the following:
- Division of all property;
- Spousal support;
- Allocation of parental rights and responsibilities for the care of the minor children (if there are minor children from the marriage), which must include a designation of a residential parent and legal custodian of the minor children as well as child support and each parent’s parenting time rights; and
- Authorization for the court to modify the amount or terms of spousal support, or the division of marital property (if the spouses want to authorize the court to do so and to give the court this power—they do not need to provide this type of authorization).
The spouses should know that the separation agreement must be signed by both of them and must be incorporated into the petition for the dissolution of marriage. When there are minor children from the marriage, the spouses should also know that they can use the separation agreement to address the following:
- Plan for shared parenting in which both parents will have shared rights and responsibilities when it comes to providing care for their minor children.
During the hearing for the dissolution of marriage, Ohio law permits the spouses to file an amended separation agreement if necessary. In separation agreements where the spouses have authorized the court to make modifications to the amount of spousal support or the division of marital property, Ohio law expressly states that any such modifications still “shall be made with the express written consent or agreement of both spouses.” Accordingly, granting the court that authorization does not prevent either of the spouses from maintaining a key role in determining the financial outcome of the case.
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- Business Owners Divorce
- Tax issues
- Child Custody
- Grandparent Rights
- Same-Sex Couples Child Custody
- High Asset Divorce
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Learn More from a Separation Agreement Lawyer in Ohio
If you are planning for a legal separation, or if you are planning to file for a dissolution of marriage and have questions about the separation agreement requirement, one of our experienced Ohio separation agreement attorneys can speak with you today. Contact the Lawrence Law Office to learn more about the services we provide for clients in Ohio concerning divorce, legal separation, and dissolution of marriage.