When you decide to live separate lives from your spouse, you need official documentation to record the details of your agreement. Marriage separation agreements broach the issue of assets, alimony, and child custody. Many people consider separation agreements a prelude to divorce. However, in its own right, the covenant is a legal anchor that requires careful considerations. We delve into making a separation agreement and signing it into effect.
What is a Separation Agreement?
A separation agreement is a legally binding contract stipulating the conditions regulating a couple that has decided to part ways but not yet formally divorced. The agreement addresses asset division, child custody, alimony, debts, and living arrangements.
What is a Separation Agreement Template?
A separation agreement template is a predesigned sheet containing legal clauses and designated sections you fill to record the separation agreement. Templates essentially save you the hassle of drafting a separation agreement from scratch.
Note: Separation agreement templates come in many names, such as separation papers and deeds of separation. All of them formalize the separation agreement.
Separation Agreement Templates & Examples
Essential Elements of a Separation Agreement Template
At the minimum, a separation agreement template should contain the following:
- Spousal support
- Child support and custody
- A financial plan that details how you’ll divide your assets, debts, and personal properties
- Visitation arrangements
- Living arrangements if you live in the same house.
How to Write a Separation Agreement Template
Since a separation agreement is a legal document, you need to follow precise steps when filling it out. Here are our easy-to-do steps that you can follow to write a separation agreement:
1. Capture the basic information
In your document, write the parties’ names and their addresses with respective contact details. Explicitly state the reason(s) for separation and whether the separation is permanent or temporary.
2. Detail division of finances
State how you will divide your possessions and financial obligations. Write how you will divide investments, assets, and other marital property.
3. Division of shared responsibilities
Spousal support, child support, children’s medical care, and other children-related expenses are shared duties couples have. In your agreement, specify who will partake in what duty or maintain sharing the obligations.
Tip: It is best to state the responsibilities you are splitting explicitly.
4. Identify the governing law
Like other legal documents, identify the governing regulations for the agreement. State laws significantly vary, and it is wise to consult an attorney.
5. Sign the agreement
Both the spouses should sign the document in the presence of a notary public. Provide the date since it signifies the date the agreement goes into effect.
Tips for Writing a Separation Agreement
Consulting a family lawyer or divorce attorney (infamous) is a smart decision. Family attorneys ensure your agreement is in line with the laws.
While drafting your agreement, it is best to include clauses for future potential situations. Include provisions for the death of a spouse during the separation.
Detail how you will split child-related expenses, not in the conventional budget. Child expenses comprise school fees, medical care, extracurricular activities, and food.
Suppose there is any forgotten asset state how you will divide it. Write straightforward percentages or a monetary amount.
Why It Is Essential To Have A Marriage Separation Agreement
The benefits of having a separation agreement include:
- The caveats in the agreement may serve as a basis for divorce. If the couple pursues divorce, they can use the template to draft divorce papers.
- Separation agreements are private. You will still maintain the same tax benefits since the document isn’t available to the general public.
- Separation agreements serve as trial separations to determine whether divorce is the right option or reconciliation. Couples who usually sign a temporary separation go on to reconcile.
- The agreement ensures both parties adhere to the conditions of the covenant. A party may build an ironclad case against their partner if they contravene the agreement.
Note: The above essentials are not restrictive. You can include other provisions in your agreement that best suit your separation needs.
Scope and Legal Considerations
Separation agreements protect the contractual agreement to live separately among spouses in many jurisdictions. However, you will have to apply for a divorce decree in states that don’t. The governing laws of a separation agreement provide litigation procedures if either party breaches the contract. The infringed spouse may file a lawsuit to seek court-mandated separation in such cases.
You can choose to separate amicably. However, to prevent dissensions on financial obligations, write the agreement.
Yes, you and your spouse can write the agreement. However, you may need legal advice if you can’t agree on the financial aspects of the agreement.
Separation agreements are enforceable, and a party may file to make it a judicial order. Breaching the order will be contempt of court.
The spouses’ signature and a notary public make the agreement legitimate.
Generally, you should not breach the terms of the agreement. Contravening the agreement initiates judicial proceedings that can result in court-ordered separation.
A separation caters to spouses who want to live apart and split their obligation while still legally married. In contrast, divorce is court-mandated and signifies the complete dissolution of the marriage.
Yes. You can date anyone as long as you do not breach the agreement.
A legal separation is a court order that the court issues upon violation of the separation agreement. Legal separations are legally binding, while separation is not.
Legal separations rely on various metrics to split finances. They may not favor you if you have a lesser income and few years in the marriage.
Some states, such as Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana, do not recognize legal separation. You have to sign divorce papers to formalize the separation.
Couples can live separately and in peace while ensuring they put their children’s interests first. Remember to approach separation agreement with caution and consideration. Little knowledge is dangerous. Now you know more about separation agreements.