Marital Separation in Massachusetts
All good things come to an end. Unfortunately, one of these things is marriage. So, what do you do when the rosy parts of your marriage wither and dry out leaving you with the thorns? Little twist – what happens when you don’t really want to go down the divorce lane?
Most folks think about legal separation. And it is the viable option for couples in most states but not in Massachusetts. In the eyes of the law, you’ll be utterly out of luck if seeking separation because you are either married or unmarried in Massachusetts. Fortunately, there is just one straw you can clutch on as you decide to go your separate ways, amicably – get a Separation Agreement.
Defining the Massachusetts Marital Separation Agreement
The Separation Agreement is simply a contract between you and your spouse. It stipulates the terms of the separation. The Separation Agreement has the following provisions:
A clause stating that both parties seek to live separately
It identifies information about the couple and outlines a brief about the marriage
Causes that determine how the parties agree to divide their marital property. In this case, the property includes real property, tangible, intangible, and personal property.
Clause outlining marital maintenance and duration of the support
Clauses outlining custody, visitation, and support of minors.
Signing the Agreement
The Marital Separation Agreement in Massachusetts should only be signed after both parties carefully consider the terms of the agreement, understand the terms of the contract, and when both parties sign the agreement willingly. There should be no indication of coercion or duress as the parties sign the agreement.
To ensure that you are doing the right thing, you should seek independent legal counsel before signing the agreement.
Petitioning the Probate and the Family Court
Besides signing the separation agreement, you can get separate support from the Probate and the family court in Massachusetts in the following circumstances:
When your spouse deserts you
When a spouse fails to support his or her spouse without a justifiable cause
When one spouse has a justifiable cause to live apart from the other
The Process of Filing A Separation Agreement
This whole process starts with a complainant. After that, you have to file their financial statements with the court and then send the same to the other party. For this to work, it must be established in court that you are married and that, you have a justifiable cause to live apart. Note that you shouldn’t be already separated when filing for the separation for it to work.
The court has the authority to award a separate support and/or child support. It can also make custody decisions and determine if health insurance must be provided by you to your spouse and/or for the minor kids involved.
So, if you are considering a Marital Separation Agreement in lieu of a divorce, you should consider getting a knowledgeable marital attorney. If you are looking for a custom readymade agreement, you should register with us and fill the above form.
Whether you live in Boston, Worcester, Springfield, Cambridge, Lowell, Brockton, New Bedford or any other city of Massachusetts, you can use our legal forms easily.