WHY IT IS A GOOD IDEA TO ENTER INTO A SEPARATION AGREEMENT, EVEN IF YOU PLAN ON FILING FOR DIVORCE IN THE FUTURE:
Pursuant to § 61.075 of the Florida Statutes, the signing of a separation agreement is the cut-off date for determining which assets can be classified as “marital” and thus distributed by the Court. Accordingly, entering into a separation agreement helps the parties clearly identify: (a) the assets that are subject to equitable distribution; (b) the value of their assets; and (c) the manner in which they choose to divide their marital assets. Without a separation agreement, parties face the prospect of a long, difficult battle over equitable distribution. By entering into a separation, divorcing couples achieve clarity and avoid the high costs and inconvenience of litigation.
The precise language of the statute is as follows:
(7) The cut-off date for determining assets and liabilities to be identified or classified as marital assets and liabilities is the earliest of the date the parties enter into a valid separation agreement, such other date as may be expressly established by such agreement, or the date of the filing of a petition for dissolution of marriage. The date for determining value of assets and the amount of liabilities identified or classified as marital is the date or dates as the judge determines is just and equitable under the circumstances. Different assets may be valued as of different dates, as, in the judge’s discretion, the circumstances require.
Because Florida statute provides a very broad definition of marital property, many couples find themselves drawn into protracted and uncertain litigation regarding which assets are marital, and how they should be valued and distributed by the court. By entering into an agreement, you can avoid that costly process.
By: Marc A. Rapaport, Esq.; 2010, All Rights Are Reserved.
Section 732.702 of the Florida Statutes specifically provides that a marital separation agreement may include a waiver of the right of one or both parties to share in the other's estate. The law requires that the separation agreement be signed by the waiving party in "the presence of two subscribing witnesses." The law further requires that each spouse fully disclosure his or her estate (assets, liabilities, etc.) upon entering into a legal separation agreement.
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