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Can family law issues be settled with a separation agreement?

When a couple in Spokane chooses to part ways, it can become an acrimonious situation with many family law issues in dispute. There can be disagreements over alimony, supporting children, how property will be allocated and numerous other problems. In some cases, there is so much bad blood between the participants that it is a waste of time to try and come to an amicable resolution. In others, however, it is worthwhile to try and come to an agreement with separation contracts. This type of agreement can provide for maintenance of either party, decide who receives what property, formulate a parenting plan and avoid any other obligations other than those that are in this contract.

The parties can choose to live separately without a decree. This can be published in a legal newspaper in the county they lived in before they separated. The recording of the contract and the publication of the notice will be used as an information source to others that the separation has occurred and contain the facts of the separation agreement. Either or both participants can decide that they want to dissolve the marriage or domestic partnership, have a legal separation or declare the union invalid. The contract will be binding except when it comes to parenting plans.

If the court finds that the economic situation was unfair when the contract was executed, then the contract is not binding. Then there might be an order for either side to receive maintenance. The property could be subject to disposition, and the obligations can be discharged. The separation contract might have wording that will nullify the agreement if there is a dissolution of marriage.

Other than that, the couple will be compelled to follow the terms of the separation contract. The agreement will be subject to enforcement. For example, if the support is not paid, there could be a judgment or finding of contempt. There could be a limit to the modifications that can be made to the contract. The couple can mutually agree to terminate the contract.

When it comes to family law, the reasons that a relationship ended can be numerous. That doesn't necessarily mean it has to be contentious. A separation contract is an option that should be considered by couples who are able to hash out their differences reasonably and do so with the help of a family law attorney.

Source: apps.leg.wa.gov, "RCW 26.09.070 Separation contracts.," accessed on June 15, 2015

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