How To Draft a Separation Agreement

Standardized Legal Documents How To Draft a Separation Agreement

The Essentials of a Separation Agreement

Once you and your spouse decide to go your separate ways, you should split all assets and properties you acquired together in an agreed way. Any separation is not only an emotional burden, but it also involves numerous legal documents and procedures. Signing a separation agreement is one of the steps you should consider

If you aren’t sure what the purpose of this document is and how to write it, we offer all the necessary information! Avoid vague separation agreement samples and templates and learn how to compose a valid contract fast and easy!

What Is a Separation Agreement, and When Should You Use It?

A separation agreement is a legal document signed by two persons who are still legally married but preparing to part ways. Its purpose is to establish the financial and parental responsibilities of each party and clear rules regarding the division of all assets. 


The contract allows you to settle particular issues with your spouse in the following cases:

  1. You and your partner don’t want to get divorced, but you want to live apart until you solve your problems. In such cases, you need a separation agreement to determine your financial and family duties during the separation
  2. Your partner and you decided to get divorced, and you want to divide your assets and define your responsibilities before officially ending your relationship. A separation agreement gives you a chance to agree on everything without having to get your assets split by the court. Once the divorce procedure starts, this contract can be the basis of a settlement agreement
  3. It’s in your interest to stay married, but you want to live separately from your partner. You can regulate your duties and obligations in such circumstances by signing this contract

This agreement isn’t obligatory, but it can help solve the matter between spouses amicably and efficiently.

Are Separation Agreements Legally Binding?

A separation agreement becomes a legally enforceable document when both parties sign and file it with the court. Once the judge checks the contract, they grant it by issuing a court order. 

In some cases, the court can refuse to approve the agreement. The primary reasons are:

  • You and your spouse don’t have separate lawyers when entering the agreement
  • The agreement favors the interests of one party while neglecting the other entity’s rights and expectations
  • Either party doesn’t report the funds or lies about the real state of their assets or properties
  • One of the parties puts pressure on the other or doesn’t give them enough time to decide whether they want to sign the contract

What Are the Necessary Sections of a Separation Agreement?

The contents of your separation agreement depend on your needs. You can check the recommendable sections in the table below:

Sections Details

General and personal information

  • Names and signatures of both spouses
  • Marriage date and city/place
  • Start date of the agreement

Personal property division

  • Home
  • Vehicles
  • The division of other mutual property
  • Business and corporate interests

Finances

  • Child support
  • Spousal support
  • Tax expenses
  • Debts
  • Financial and retirement accounts
  • Insurance information

Children

  • Child custody
  • Visitation rights and schedule
  • Information about medical, educational, and recreational support for children

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Composing a contract on your own may result in a disaster if you don’t have the necessary legal knowledge. Lawyers can do it for you, but their services may cost more than you can set aside, while most online contract templates are vague and unverified.

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