Fayetteville, AR Separation Agreement Lawyer
When a marriage is not going as wonderfully as either spouse would like, some couples turn to the possibility of divorce. However, there is another option besides divorce that should also be considered, legal separation. A legal separation allows certain benefits for both spouses while allowing them to remain married. This can be a desirable outcome for couples that want to remain legally married for their family or for other reasons. If you or a family member is weighing the idea of a legal separation, you should contact an experienced Fayetteville separation agreement lawyer.
The family lawyers at Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP can help you file a legal separation agreement. We understand the stress and emotions involved with separation, and we are here to make the process as smooth as possible. You deserve unique legal representation for a life-changing event like legal separation. To schedule a confidential legal consultation, call Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP at (479) 439-9840, or contact us online.
What is Legal Separation?
A legal separation is when two spouses decide to live independently from one another but to remain married. There are a variety of reasons why a couple may choose to legally separate instead of just divorcing. For example, the spouses may have a mutual belief that they could reconcile at some point. Another reason could be that either spouse may not believe in the idea of divorce.
Legal separations can be complex because there are two types of marriages in Arkansas: covenant marriages and traditional marriages. A covenant marriage is seen as a lifelong commitment that cannot be dissolved easily. Multiple requirements must be met before you can separate in a covenant marriage. Two requirements are that at least one spouse must live within Arkansas and both spouses must submit to counseling. One of the following legal grounds must be presented to successfully file a legal separation from a covenant marriage:
- Your spouse committed adultery
- A spouse was convicted of a felony and was imprisoned or sentenced to death
- One spouse committed physical or sexual abuse against the other or one of their children
- A spouse commits substance abuse for longer than a year
- A spouse is endangering their life
- You and your spouse have lived separately for two years without hope of reconciliation
- Other actions were committed that makes the marriage insufferable
To receive a legal separation in a traditional marriage, either spouse can simply file a petition for legal separation that is signed by both spouses. You may also have to prove that you and your spouse lived separate and apart for at least 18 months. Separate and apart means that the spouses do not share a home and are not engaged in any form of sexual relation or cohabitation. However, under certain circumstances, it is possible that a court may approve a legal separation if spouses are living in the same home but in different bedrooms. If the court determines that you and your spouse are still engaging in sexual relations, this may affect whether your separation agreement is approved.
What Does a Separation Agreement Do?
A separation agreement is like a contract that sets out the terms of a legal separation. Every separation agreement is different because each couple will have unique situations that need to be addressed. However, there are common terms that every couple should consider depending on their needs:
- How the spouses will allocate parental rights and child custody
- Whether one spouse is entitled to receive child support from the other
- The division of marital property and debt accrued during the marriage
- Whether medical insurance benefits will continue to be shared
- Whether one spouse needs alimony to continue to live the life they are accustomed to
While a separation agreement can be drafted without the aid of a lawyer, retaining a lawyer will ensure your best interests are kept in mind during negotiations. An experienced lawyer can guide you through Arkansas’ family law system and help you draft an agreement that addresses all of your needs. If a legal separation turns ugly halfway through the process, you will appreciate having a knowledgeable lawyer on your side.
Our Arkansas Separation Agreement Attorneys Can Help You File a Petition.
If you need to file a legal separation from your spouse, you should consult with an experienced Arkansas separation agreement attorney today. At Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP, our legal team possesses years of experience in a wide range of family law issues, and we will use this knowledge to serve you. We will help you produce a legal separation agreement that meets your needs and the needs of your family. To schedule a confidential legal consultation, call Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP at (479) 439-9840, or contact us online.