Marital Separation Agreement (MSA) is a legal document that helps couples in resolving their issues amicably. A MSA is not a divorce. In fact, it does not dissolve the marriage; rather, it provides guidelines for how to live together after the marriage ends. An MSA may be signed before or after the divorce. If the couple decides to sign an MSA before the divorce, they should do so at least six months prior to filing for divorce.
The purpose of an MSA is to provide a framework for the parties to work out their differences. There are two types of MSAs: temporary and permanent. Temporary MSAs are valid only until the court grants a final decree of divorce. Permanent free separation agreement MSAs are binding agreements that remain in effect even if the couple gets divorced. Know about some of the most important aspects that are decided with a marital separation agreement.
- Property division
The property division section should clearly state what each party owns and how they own it. If you have children together, make sure you divide their custody accordingly. You may want to consider having a family law attorney help draft the document if you don’t know much about legal documents.
- Child Support
Child support payments are based on the number of children you have and the amount of time they spend with their custodial parent. In some states, child support is calculated using a formula called the “Guidelines.” These guidelines take into account factors like income, age, and number of children.
Alimony is paid to the non-custodial spouse after the divorce is finalized. It is often referred to as spousal maintenance and is meant to replace lost earnings due to being out of work or not working enough hours. Factors considered in determining alimony include marital assets, length of marriage, and whether either party was at fault in the break-up. With the help of separation papers in NC, this is possible.
- Spousal Support
An MSA is a contract between the spouses that outlines what each party will get and give. It includes provisions about child custody, spousal maintenance, property division, alimony, and attorney fees.
Spousal support is paid to the custodial parent to supplement their income while they are caring for the children. It is intended to provide financial assistance to the custodial parent until the children reach adulthood or finish school.
Custody refers to which of the parents gets the primary responsibility for raising the children.
There are two types of custody arrangements:
- Sole custody – Sole custody means only one parent has full custody of the children.
- Joint custody – Joint custody means both parents share equal parenting responsibilities.
- Visitation Rights
Visitation rights are granted to the non-caring parent. This includes visitation times, holidays, birthdays, and special events.
- Parenting Plan
A parenting plan is a written schedule outlining the activities and responsibilities of each parent. It is created before the court of law gives an order on any type of custody arrangement.