Separation Agreement Template
A separation agreement is an important document between two married individuals used to divide their responsibilities and assets in the process of preparing and filing for a divorce. This separation agreement template includes:
- A pdf template for either a couple planning to separate.
- A universal marital separation agreement to include various types of spousal support and agreements between the couple.
- Space to include child support, visitation, and spousal support details.
- Optional Notary and Witness page if required under state law.
- Download your separation agreement template in minutes!
What is a Separation Agreement? A separation agreement is an agreement between a married couple. It determines the division of things like property, assets, and other obligations. A separation agreement can be filed with the court before the divorce proceedings. It can also be considered during the divorce process by the presiding judge in the final decree and divorce judgment. Other names for a separation agreement include:
- Marital Settlement Agreement
- Divorce Agreement
- Separation Papers
- Marital Separation Agreement
- Marriage Separation Agreement
- Legal Separation Agreement
- Legal Separation Papers
- Divorce Settlement Agreement
There is a difference between divorce and separation. Separation is when the couple is still legally married but are no longer involved in a marital relationship. They either intend to file divorce proceedings in the future, remain permanently separated, or reconcile. Divorce is when a couple has officially received a decree of divorce and divorce judgment. A separation agreement is appropriate for legally married couples and may not be proper or enforceable for common-law spouses. Why Is a Separation Agreement Necessary? Separation agreements are used in a variety of circumstances. The most common situations when a separation agreement may be needed is in the following situations:
- The couple is not yet ready for divorce – In these situations, the couple is not prepared to file formal divorce proceedings, but they wish to temporarily live apart. A separation agreement in this scenario is generally drafted when they start to live separately from one another and divide their financial and familial responsibilities during their separation.
- The couple knows how they will divide their assets – A couple under these circumstances has already agreed upon how they wish to divide their debts, property, assets, and other obligations. The couple has also decided on each parent’s child support obligation and determined the custodial parents and visitation arrangements.
- Permanently Separate – Some couples utilize a separation agreement if they wish to keep their marital status while permanently living apart and separate.
The Essential Elements of a Separation Agreement The elements of a separation agreement depend on several different factors. If the couple does not have children of the marriage or the children are over a certain age. A custody arrangement or support agreement such provision is not necessary. On the other hand, depending on each party’s assets, debts, and property, the separation agreement can either be relatively basic and straight forward or very detailed if there are more assets, liabilities, property, etc. The main components of a separation agreement include:
- The Parties – Each spouse should be identified. This typically includes other basic information such as when and where the couple was married.
- Custody and Child Support – The minor or dependent children of the marriage should be listed in the separation agreement, which includes their full legal name, gender, and date of birth. Details of custody, visitation, and child support obligations and schedules should also be detailed in the agreement.
- Spousal Support – In some cases, alimony may be provided to one spouse. Sometimes this depends on how long the couple has been married—the purpose of spousal support to assist the other spouse in maintaining an acclimatized financial way of life. The amount of spousal support may also depend on both party’s income, health, age, contributions and sacrifices to the marriage, and other pertinent factors.
- Property Division – The parties should itemize any real or personal property owned by the Parties at the time of their marriage and thereafter acquired separately or together. If the property has previously been divided and agreed to such property and the agreements of who the property belongs to should be incorporated in the separation agreement.
- Debts and Obligations – Any debts acquired by the parties should be sorted out and detailed in the agreement (if applicable).
What Are Some Common Mistakes Found in Separation Agreements? Separation agreements should be detailed, reasonable, fair, and duly signed by both parties. It should be as detailed as possible. A court may reject a separation agreement if the terms are not in the best interest to the children of the marriage, a spouse’s failure to disclose certain assets and liabilities, or the separation agreement is unconscionable. While retaining a divorce attorney is not entirely necessary, it is a good idea to seek legal counsel while drafting a separation agreement. If one spouse was provided a separation agreement, it is also wise to meet with an attorney to review and explain the document before signing it. Each state has different requirements for separation agreements. For example, six states do not recognize legal separations (Texas, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, Delaware). Some states require a separation agreement to be notarized or witnessed by a competent adult. How to Get Your Separation Agreement Signed Creating an enforceable separation agreement is crucial. It must be detailed, fair, and in the best interest of the parties involved. Electronic signatures are convenient and legally binding. It is always a good idea to obtain legal advice while drafting and executing a separation agreement. Our separation agreement template will help get you started customizing and planning your separation agreement. After signed by both parties, each party should obtain a copy of the separation agreement for their records. Resources The American Bar Association (ABA) can help point you in the right direction when drafting a separation agreement. The ABA can also help you locate a family law attorney in your state to consult while drafting or reviewing a separation agreement.
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