Separation Agreement Template
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What Is a Separation Agreement?
A Separation Agreement is a legally binding document used by two partners to divide their assets and determine their rights and duties in preparation for official separation or divorce.
- Divorce Settlement Agreement;
- Marital Separation Agreement;
- Marriage Separation Agreement.
To figure out how people who no longer wish to be in a relationship will pay child support and spousal support, split finances and debts, and highlight other financial issues partners and spouses must tackle before separating definitively, you may use this contract and deal with problems you are facing while you either try to get back together or formalize the divorce.
You can download a Separation Agreement template through the link below.
What to Include in a Separation Agreement?
To be officially recognized, any contract must be valid - make sure the blank Separation Agreement you complete contains the following details to be enforceable in case either of the parties wants to challenge it someday:
- Identification of the parties - write down the names and telephone numbers of the partners. If possible, you may also indicate the addresses and add the contact information of relatives or friends especially if the individual moved out already and it may be difficult to reach out to them to discuss any modifications to the contract.
- Division of real estate. Cover all the bases - you need to think not only about expensive items you have purchased while in a relationship or marriage but also about things either of the parties wants to keep. The agreement may certify the parties agree to sell their house or apartment in the next three months to divide the proceeds from the transaction between two individuals specified in the contract.
- Division of business and financial assets. It is possible to state that one of the parties buys back their share from the other person to let the latter obtain sole ownership of assets which is considered common practice if only one of the people in a relationship launched a business and devoted their time and money to it.
- Joint debts. Generally, spouses bear equal liability for all the debts piled up during their marriage. Yet, in many cases, it is easier for one of them to deal with the debts - discuss this issue with the other individual and try to find common ground.
- Child custody. To maintain a close relationship with your children, even after one of the partners leaves the house before the divorce or while you both work hard to mend your partnership, you must decide how to spend quality time with your children and whether any of the parties should pay any money to the other to help with childcare.
- Spousal support. Typically paid to the spouse who has not worked during the marriage, short- or long-term support can help the person who had less money in a relationship to manage their financial needs.
- Signatures of the partners or spouses. It is also allowed to hire an attorney or ask a legal representative to review the documentation
- Notary seal - although it is not required, a visit to a notary public that witnesses two people separating and signing the documentation can bring an extra level of protection to your agreement.
How Much Does a Separation Agreement Cost?
It can be difficult to estimate the cost of a Separation Agreement composed by a legal professional or learn how much money you will have to pay to a mediator or attorney that will guide you through the process of separation. You can contact a local law firm to find out the costs of legal separation - they will change because of the following factors:
- If one of the partners insists upon a contested divorce disagreeing on major elements of separation, it may take more time and money to help the individuals separating to see eye to eye.
- Different family law attorneys will ask for different hourly rates; you can agree upon a limited number of hours they will devote to drafting your agreement to minimize your expenses.
- In case the divorce requires expert witnesses that will testify on behalf of one or both spouses, it will take time to negotiate with them and bring them to trial - this will also increase the fee you need to pay your attorney.
How to Write a Separation Agreement?
Here are some tips for you if you decided to prepare a Do It Yourself Separation Agreement - you can negotiate with the other person even without an attorney or hire a mediator that will help you put your ideas in writing:
- If you and your partner had a big fight, wait for a reasonable amount of time before you start any negotiations. You cannot allow your emotions to rule your decisions when drafting an agreement of this kind especially if you jointly own large amounts of assets or have minor children.
- Agree upon a temporary or permanent name change - if one of the spouses took up the name of another partner, they may want to enter into contracts with third parties and sign the divorce papers using their former name.
- If the local regulations demand a formal separation, submit a petition to a court to make sure your Separation Agreement is approved.
- To draft a transparent agreement, indicate the parties' consent to offer full financial disclosure and introduce financial penalties in case one of the partners hides their assets from the other person.
What Happens If You Don't Sign a Separation Agreement?
A Divorce Settlement Agreement will not be considered enforceable unless it bears the signatures of both people who have chosen to separate. If one party refuses to sign this document, none of the provisions listed in writing can be enforced until the separation is accepted in court; so, in case your spouse does not want to meet you halfway, consider finding a mediator who will give you a chance to break up and separate assets amicably.
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