Marriage Separation Agreement

The marriage separation agreement outlines the end of a marriage relationship and spells out how assets are divided.

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If you and your spouse no longer wish to live together, but you aren't sure if a divorce would be the right step to take, you can opt for a period of trial separation. After you've verbally agreed on how you'd like to resolve practical issues when you're apart, you can put it down on paper in a separation agreement.

As a personal matter, you don't have to go to court or hire an attorney to prepare a separation agreement. However, keep in mind you're entering a delicate area. Although you're allowed to draft the deal yourself, it is potentially legally binding after signing, particularly concerning the handling of assets and liabilities.

What Is a Marital Separation Agreement

A Marital Separation Agreement is a contract spouses can create if they want to go their separate ways but remain legally married. It defines how the shared properties would be divided and who would get custody of the children. This mutual agreement also regulates how to handle the debts and bills in the future.

If the married couple has children, a Marital Separation Agreement defines custody and visitation rights and whether one parent should provide alimony or spousal support.

Executing a Marital Separation Agreement is not the same as filing for divorce. You and your spouse can still change your mind after the trial separation. Entering into a Marital Separation Agreement doesn't mean you have to choose any of the options immediately. Two married spouses can use the agreement to tackle difficult topics and decide on important issues together.

Other Names for Marital Separation Agreement

Depending on your state, a Marital Separation Agreement may also be known as:

  • Settlement agreement

  • Legal separation agreement

  • Marital property settlement agreement

  • Separation papers

Who Needs a Marital Separation Agreement?

Any married couple who plans to split up or is already living separately should consider drafting a Marital Separation Agreement. Since it is less stressful than an actual divorce and does not require attorneys and family courts' involvement, even couples who are about to file for divorce can benefit from entering into this agreement first.

A Marital Separation Agreement is particularly recommended in several situations. For instance, if you are unsure about the future of your marriage. Or, if you are still hoping to reconcile with your husband or wife. In such cases, you should try to find common grounds and come up with solutions to work for both, for which a Marital Separation Agreement is an excellent tool.

Depending on your state, you might be required to execute a legal separation agreement and live de facto separated for several years before you can file for divorce.

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How to Create a Marital Separation Agreement with 360 Legal Forms

A Marital Separation Agreement defines some delicate and essential aspects of life for both parties. The most important thing you'll need to do is talk to your spouse and arrive at a mutual agreement. Once you have all the answers, you're ready to go.

Let 360 Legal Forms help with our extensive library of attorney-vetted legal forms. The process is fast and easy. All you have to do is fill out our easy-to-understand questionnaire. Once complete, simply download your form as a PDF or Word document from your secure online account.

What Information Will I Need to Create My Marital Separation Agreement?

To create your document, please provide:

  • Wedding Date: The date on which you got married

  • Separation Date: The date when one of the spouses moved out of the shared home

  • Children Names and Ages: Ages and names of all minor children you have together

  • Addresses: Current addresses of both spouses

Marital Separation Agreement Terms

  • Alimony: Payments one spouse has to pay to help support a spouse during separation

  • Child support: Funds one of the parents agrees to provide to the parent who has custody

  • Custody: The right to raise your children and make important decisions on their behalf

  • Marital Property: Possessions the spouses attained together during their marriage

  • Non-marital Property: Possessions the spouses owned before the marriage or acquired individually during the marriage

  • Visitation: The time the noncustodial parent gets to spend with the children

Marital Separation Agreement Signing Requirements

To be valid, a Marital Separation Agreement must be signed by both spouses. Also, a durable power of attorney must be notarized in some states or be witnessed by at least two adults, who should also sign the document.

It's also important to note that signing requirements vary across state lines. Some states require both witnesses and the notary public to sign the document. Also, some states don't need the agent to sign. Look up the laws in your jurisdiction before signing the Marital Separation Agreement.

What to Do with Your Marital Separation Agreement

Make sure to read your Marital Separation Agreement thoroughly once again before you sign it. If you're unsure about something, it might be useful to have a lawyer review the paper (but not your spouse's attorney). Both spouses should keep a copy of the agreement for records.

Frequently Asked Questions

Courts usually take into account any Marital Separation Agreement at hand, as long as it’s just, and reasonable. In some cases, a court may refuse to recognize a Marital Separation Agreement. That usually happens if the agreement is perceived to be unfair, hidden assets are discovered, or the terms are adjudged to be against the best interests of the children.

Both of you need to sign another document that cancels the Marital Separation Agreement.

Make sure to describe the visitation schedule as clearly as possible, especially if you and your spouse have a history of poor communication and disagreements. Detail the standard visits as agreed, including holidays and school visits. The schedule should be reasonable, transparent, and leave no room for interpretation.

Sit and discuss this matter thoroughly before creating the agreement. The division of your assets and possessions depends on personal and familial circumstances. The key is to be open, fair, and disclose all possessions at the beginning.

Every US state has a child support division that can enforce the various aspects of your separation agreement. There are differences across the US, but all parents are eligible to use the services, including potential wage garnishments and criminal charges for the violators.

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Applicable to all 50 states
Applicable to all 50 states

Our documents are vetted by lawyers and are applicable to all 50 states.