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How to Prepare a Separation Agreement

by Lucinda Watrous

If you and your spouse are considering a divorce, many states require that a period of separation take place prior to granting the divorce. Some states require that this separation be longer than others, and some require that separation agreements be legally filed before a divorce is granted. That said, here is a look at how to prepare a separation agreement.

If you and your partner are being civil with each other, then this will be easier on the both of you. Otherwise, it may be a bit difficult as you will need to do most of your communicating with your lawyers. Remember though, not all states require that you file separation agreements and not all states require the use of a lawyer in order to develop a separation agreement. You can do this privately without assistance from the court if you so choose.

A separation agreement covers the legalities of who will keep what property, who will pay what bills and all matters regarding any children resulting from said marriage. Think of this agreement as a way to protect yourself and your spouse should any issues arise after the two of you decide to end your relationship but before you are actually divorced.

You and your spouse should sit down together with pen and paper for note taking, and decide who gets what and who wants to be responsible for what. Once you have decided on everything and can agree on everything, you should both get signed, dated and notarized copies, should either party fail to hold their part of the agreement. Consider many different scenarios and possibilities. Clearly spell out any obligations of either party, and make sure that everything is understood by both parties.

If the two of you cannot get along well enough to handle this privately, consider meeting with a lawyer to help you along. The lawyers will work together to come to an agreement that the both of you agree with without the two of you having contact so that you can stay civil.

Check with your state and local guidelines to be sure that you are in compliance with any laws that are in your area. Some states like North Carolina consider a couple separated from the date they cease living together, and do not require any sort of paperwork to be filed. Upon being able to prove their separation for a year they can divorce. Many North Carolinians still draft a separation agreement with or without a lawyer for their own protection.

Items you will need
  • Lawyer
  • Pen and Paper
  • Partner

Tip

  • Use a lawyer if necessary or required. Otherwise save yourself hassle and money.

Warning

  • Be careful as each state has different rules and regulations regarding this matter.

About the Author

Lucinda Watrous is professional freelance writer and web designer. She currently holds an Associate's Degree in Interactive Media Design from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. She has been freelancing for almost two years and enjoys writing on a variety of subjects such as personal finance, web design, and parenting.