A separation agreement template is a legal document that comes into handy when you’re planning to separate from your spouse legally. It defines how to handle assets, debit, child custody, and more. This agreement is useful in the following scenarios;
- When you and your spouse are planning of getting a divorce. You can reach an agreement with this document with your spouse. Make decision on how to distribute assets, liabilities, and responsibilities.
- Before making a final decision, you and your spouse want to separate legally.
- Before legally separating, you are planning to meet with a lawyer. Make it as an outline for the distribution of assets, liabilities, and responsibilities.
Moreover, the other names of this agreement are a marital separation agreement, a marital settlement agreement, or a legal separation agreement. You should make sure both parties have signed the document before bringing your document to a notary public.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is a separation agreement?
- 2 Parts of a separation agreement template:
- 3 Other types of separation agreement templates:
- 4 How to make a separation agreement?
- 5 Some tips that you should consider while writing separation agreement:
- 6 Conclusion:
What is a separation agreement?
A separation agreement is a legally binding document between two spouses who have separated or who haven’t separated yet but decide to live apart. To make your separation agreement legally binding, some states require you to visit the court. The agreement outlines the responsibilities for each spouse such as;
- Who will from spouses live in the marital home
- How property will be distributed
- Who will pay the family debts
- Who will have the responsibility of making child and spousal support payments?
- Who will have custody of the children?
- What types of visitation rights other spouse will have
Furthermore, the agreement is signed by both spouses. This agreement makes the separation easier and resolves most of the problems of separation. In case, the couple isn’t separated yet, they can take advantage of specific insurance and tax benefits as they are still legally married.
Parts of a separation agreement template:
A separation agreement template includes the following parts;
Both of you should decide who will get custody of the kids. The parent who doesn’t get the custody, decide the schedule for him or her. Speak about how much time the children will spend with each parent. Make a decision that where the children will spend the holidays.
To make thing clearer, try to come up with a parenting plan. If one of the parents should relocate, state what happens then. Make a plan to handle this type of situation.
For the child support, you and your spouse should set the basic amount. In determining this amount, you can use the Child Support Guidelines. This way, your child will spend an equal amount of time with each of you. You also have to think about any extra expenses for the child. Also, decide how you’ll pay for them. For example, think about school expenses, special programs, and other activities.
Mention clearly when the child support will stop. In the child support system, specify what kinds of situations would result in a change.
You should also talk about spousal support aside from child support. If there would be any spousal support given by one spouse to the other, then make it clear. If so, indicate the amount and duration that how long should the support last. Indicate the reason if one spouse waives the spousal support claims. You may also have to specify special circumstances that would lead to the modification or termination of the support.
Resolution of disputes
The resolution of disputes is another thing you must include in the template. Decide how you will deal with problems and disputes in the future. This is essential if there are any issues in the future and on the solution, you can’t agree. However, if you really can’t agree on the solution, set an arbitrator or a mediator to assist with the problem.
Medical and dental benefits of children
It is important to cover all bases when you have children. You and your spouse should assist in maintaining the medical and dental plans of your children. In addition to this, decide how you will distribute the payment of medical and dental care when required.
Life insurance policies
You may keep your spouse as your beneficiary if you have life insurance policies. You can also make your children the beneficiaries. Make it part of the document.
Division of property
This is another important part of the separation agreement form. Mention how you will distribute the net family property. Think about how you will pay the equalization payment either as installments or as a lump sum. You just have to ensure to specify all the terms of the agreement.
In case, you own a home where your family resides, then also decide what you will do with it. Specify the shares each spouse will get. In case you sell it. If you don’t sell it, specify who will live in the home and pay for its maintenance. One spouse may also select to purchase the other one out. It doesn’t matter what your decision is, mention it in your agreement.
Debts and liabilities
It is another essential part of the agreement. Mention how you will divide any debts and liabilities if you have them. You shouldn’t have to stop paying your debts just due to you’ve separated.
Include any details about pensions of you and your spouse. In this agreement, any two legally married people living separately can enter.
Other types of separation agreement templates:
This document will assist you in separating from your spouse while you’re still married. Therefore, it is very essential to know the duties and responsibilities you’re legally bound to do. You can download a template online. It includes all the essential details required in the agreement. Also, other general guidelines and provisions are also mentioned in it.
Furthermore, you can also make one for yourself. There are different types of templates that you can create;
- Employee separation and general release
- Legal separation
- Limited partnership
- Marital dissolution
- Marital settlement separation
- Marriage separation
- Preliminary statement
- Real estate partnership
Separation agreement and property settlement, Separation and release, Severance separation, and Silent partner separation are other types of templates of separation that you can use. You can see that you can make templates for different types of separation. Read on what guidelines you should include in case you want to make the agreement more specific.
In the agreement, the most important thing is to that both of you should agree on everything. Before writing in the document, agree on the terms first. This is particularly true when your relationship is already strained. Bear in mind that a separation agreement has significant and lasting effects. The terms you mention will identify your finances, lifestyle, and more in the future.
How to make a separation agreement?
Let us discuss step-by-step on how to create a separation agreement;
Basic details about spouses and their marriage
At first, you should include the details about the spouses in the separation agreement. Here are the details that should be included;
- Former name (optional)
- Marriage date
- Location of marriage
- Current status (just separated or divorced)
Details about spousal support
Next, if both of you are agreed to spousal support then specify the following details in the agreement;
- Which spouse will get it
- How much they will get
- Also, specify whether spouses can change the amount
- Any ending date or event that may result in its termination
Above all, you should also indicate in the agreement how long the life insurance policy will be and the amount.
Provide information about kids
If you have kids or you are expecting then provide details about them. Indicate the number of children you have as well as their names and birthdays. It is very important to decide about your kids when you are separating. Generally, there are 3 options you have;
- Sole legal and physical custody
- Shared legal custody and primary physical custody
- Shared legal and physical custody
You should also have details discussions regarding your kid’s expenses that include the details about medical insurance, child support, tuition expenses, and specific rights and responsibilities.
Decide how property will distribute
If you have any real property then decide how it will be distributed. You, as spouses can agree on the following;
- One of the spouse will keep the marital home and be the sole owner
- You may sell or lease the home and distribute the profits
- They will keep their marital home and one spouse will continue to reside there
If there are more properties other than the marital home then indicate their address as well as who will take them after separation. In addition, there is also another property that includes the assets and belongings of the parties that are movable. On the other hand, real property is fixed in nature. It’s up to spouses to decide which items they own, which they sold, and how the profits will be distributed between them. Also, discuss about the division of any vehicles with your partner.
If both of you have a joint account then decide how it will be divided and also provide your account number. Also, if there are any debts, discuss whether they will be split or be the sole responsibility of a party.
Furthermore, you and your spouse also decide about pensions and retirement accounts. During their marriage, if a spouse paid money into the account then it could be considered part of the marital estate. After that, start discussing about filing individual tax returns. You should file them when the divorce decree becomes final or at the starting of a specific year.
Give final details
Any additional provisions, witness signatures, and notary acknowledgments that you want to include in the separation agreement, include them here. It is suggested don’t file your agreement with the court. However, you and your spouse should decide that whether the agreement would be filed in court. Some states also require a separation period before a divorce.
In case, you file the agreement with court and thereafter file for divorce then ask the court to merge them. After merging, it becomes enforceable by the court. While, the agreement may seem like any other legal agreement among you and your spouse in you don’t file the agreement with the court. At the end, write the date.
Some tips that you should consider while writing separation agreement:
Additional expenses that your children may require
You must think about additional expenses for your children while writing a separation agreement. This is because your children may require money for extracurricular activities other than the expenses for private school and contributions to college funds. These activities may involve school sports, trips, events, private lessons, etc. You should clearly specify in your agreement who should responsible for such expenses.
Assets or property
Explain the specific issues relevant to the property to the point in your written agreement. It is recommended to add provisions that address the distribution of forgotten assets such as non-disclosed or omitted property.
Get some suggestions
It could be challenging to write some aspects of your agreement on the basis of your family’s requirements. You should seek some suggestions from an accountant or from an attorney in case your financial consequences are complex.
You must keep in mind while writing the agreement that all the rules regarding writing separation agreements vary from state to state. So, you should go through your state rules before writing the agreement.
In conclusion, you can use a separation agreement template when you and your spouse plan to separate legally. In this contract, you can outline all your terms and speak about the division of your assets and responsibilities.