When your marriage hits the wall despite your best efforts, divorce might be your best option. However, this process often comes with a wave of overwhelming emotions and activities. Furthermore, you may not be sure how to tackle the legal side of things.

How about opting for a legal separation to ease the transition and prepare for the divorce? That’s a smart move.

And a second smart move is to engage the services of a lawyer for a separation agreement in Washington, DC. That’s where Petrelli Previtera, LLC, steps in.

Our separation agreement lawyers understand what works and what doesn’t in Washington, DC. Many years have witnessed us creating a rock-solid legal strategy to eliminate stress and protect your rights.

Why Divorce Can Be Stressful

The divorce process comes with stressful legal implications. For example, a couple should wait up to 6 months to 1 year to seek divorce. Then after filing for divorce, the mediation of the litigation process may drag on as both parties work to resolve all matters that arise during divorce- debt and assets division, child support, child custody, alimony, etc.

Usher in Separation Agreement

A separation agreement can come to your rescue and allow you to control the process. According to the DC Code §16-904, a couple may opt for a legal separation if the two partners are willingly living apart or living under the same roof but aren’t cohabiting. The law only demands that both parties pursue separate lives and don’t share the same bed.

This negotiated settlement allows parties to agree on some or whole of their assets. And if the agreement eventually ends in divorce, the court will incorporate it into the divorce ruling. So a separation agreement allows settlement of any issue that crops up during the divorce process, including custody of children.

Modification of a Separation Agreement

Under DC Code §16-905, a legal separation can be canceled or augmented. The court can alter or “enlarge” a separation agreement into a divorce decree under these conditions:

  • You or your spouse file a motion that the agreement should end in divorce
  • Affidavits confirming that the parties haven’t reconciled and probably won’t do so
  • Evidence that separation went on uninterrupted

Cancellation of a Legal Separation

Have you and your partner decided to reconcile instead of proceeding with a divorce? The Washington DC law empowers the court to revoke a separation agreement order. You can jointly apply to initiate this process.

How to Boost Your Separation Agreement’s Success Rate

Here are our a few tips from that will help with the negotiations with your partner:

1. Meet in a neutral location

We all love our homes. Unfortunately, it holds many memories that can trigger emotions and cause you to fall back into familiar patterns. So try to negotiate in a public place such as a coffee shop.

2. Focus on the issue at hand

Past grievances that drove a wedge between you can easily steal your concentration. But it’s wise to focus on resolving the matter at hand- a separation agreement.

3. Behave business-wise

Sure, steering clear of emotions isn’t a walk in the park. But try to keep the discussion business-like instead of rehashing the disagreements that separated you.

4. Discuss co-parenting if you have an offspring

If your union brought forth children, they’d love seeing both parents (even if the marriage eventually ends in divorce), especially at important events and extracurricular or school activities. So discuss co-parenting.

5. Get help from Petrelli Previtera, LLC lawyer for a separation agreement

A separation agreement lawyer can support you throughout the process. They’ll help you frame and write your separation agreement. And if you can’t have a face-to-face or direct negotiation with your spouse, the lawyer can do that for you.

Petrelli Previtera, LLC is a nationally-recognized firm that can assist you in navigating through the separation process. Let’s handle the legal nuts and bolts as you think about the “what next.”

Frequently Asked Questions to Our Separation Agreement Lawyers

What’s the difference between legal separation and divorce?

While your marital status shifts in both instances, separation doesn’t end your marriage. You two can live independently but cannot remarry unless the break ends in divorce.

Why opt for separation instead of divorce?

Terminating a relationship is a personal decision that only you and your spouse can make. But here are the reasons you may opt for separation instead of hitting the divorce button immediately:

  • In case you reconcile, you can always come back together. It happens sometimes.
  • It gives you a chance to “rehearse” the divorce
  • You don’t wish to forfeit financial benefits such as tax
  • When divorce raises social, religious, and moral objections

What’s the process of legal separation in DC?

Here are steps to living independently from your spouse:

  • File a motion

Filing a request with court kick-starts the process. The application should include your marriage date and a statement showing one or both spouses have lived in the state for at least 6 months.

For your motion to sail through, it must allege one of the following legal reasons:

  • You are willingly living separately without sexual relations
  • Was the separation involuntary? File the motion only if you have lived apart without sexual relations for at least 1 year.
  • Negotiate

Negotiate the terms regarding alimony, debt division, property allocation, child support, and child custody. If you and your spouse can’t agree, the court will decide for you.

  • Request granted

Once the motion sails through, each partner is free to live independently.

And in case of reconciliation, you can request the court to revoke the separation. If you desire an absolute divorce, the legal separation will end in divorce.

Get Award-Winning Separation Agreement Lawyer

Have you decided to part ways for a while and think about the way forward? The road doesn’t have to be bumpy. Petrelli Previtera, LLC lawyers in Washington, DC, are here to guide you. Feel free to schedule an initial consultation today.