Free Separation Agreement

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Separation Agreement

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SEPARATION AGREEMENT

THIS SEPARATION AGREEMENT (the "Agreement") dated this ________ day of ________________, ________.

BETWEEN:

______________________
of ______________________

-and-

______________________
of ______________________


  1. BACKGROUND:
  2. ______________________ and ______________________ (collectively the "Parties" and individually a "Party") were lawfully married on May 17th, 2022, in ______________________, ______________________. Due to certain differences that have developed between the Parties, they agree to live separate and apart from each other, subject to the terms and conditions in this Agreement.
  3. The Parties have made complete, fair and accurate disclosure to each other on all financial matters reflected in this Agreement.
  4. The terms of this Agreement are intended to settle the matters addressed and may be incorporated into a final decree of divorce, unless specific matters are amended or addressed in a subsequent separation agreement.
  5. The Parties have each consulted an attorney with regards to their legal rights arising out of the matrimonial relationship and the terms of this Agreement.
  6. The Parties have each voluntarily entered into this Agreement and have not been forced by anyone to sign this Agreement, and both the Parties confirm that they are in sound mental health.


IN CONSIDERATION OF the mutual promises and covenants contained in this Agreement, and other valuable consideration, the receipt and sufficiency of which consideration is acknowledged, the Parties agree as follows:

  1. LIVING SEPARATE AND APART
  2. The Parties will, from the date of execution of this Agreement, live separate and apart from each other. Neither Party will attend the other's living space or work without invitation or approval.
  3. CHILDREN
  4. There are no children of the marriage.
  5. SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE
  6. ______________________ will pay spousal maintenance in the amount of $__________ monthly to ______________________ Spousal maintenance payments will commence on May 17, 2022 and will be paid on the 17th day of each and every month until such time as ______________________ remarries or cohabits with another person in a common-law relationship or dies, whichever will come first.
  7. ASSETS
  8. The Parties acknowledge that they have agreed upon a division of all assets, owned or possessed by them as matrimonial property or separate property. The Parties are in possession of all of those assets to which each is respectively entitled. Accordingly, neither makes any claim to any assets in the possession of the other.
  9. DEBTS
  10. The Parties agree that any indebtedness secured against, or attributable to, any item of property that either Party is receiving under this Agreement will be the sole responsibility of the Party receiving the particular property.
  11. Neither Party will incur any further debt or liability on the other Party's credit. Any debt accumulated as of the date of this Agreement is the debt of the individual Party, regardless if the debt was incurred as a result of joint credit.
  12. EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION RELEASE
  13. The Parties covenant and agree that they are aware of the equitable distribution laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia and it is their intention that the equitable distribution laws will not apply to the status, ownership, interest and division of their property, either jointly or separately owned, nor to their future property, whether real or personal, and owned by either one or both of them, and the Parties further covenant and agree that it is their desire and intent by the terms of this Agreement to contract out of the equitable distribution laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia and to make a full and final settlement of all matters of property, both real and personal, previously and presently owned by either of the Parties or to be acquired by either of the Parties in the future.
  14. ESTATE AND TESTAMENTARY DISPOSITION
  15. The Parties renounce all rights each might have in or to the administration of the other’s estate whether under any law of the Commonwealth of Virginia, or any state of United States of America, or any country in which any part of the estate of the other may be situated and further waive and release the other from any and all rights of every kind, nature, and description that each may acquire as a spouse or a surviving spouse in the property, assets, or estate of the other.
  16. PENSION RELEASE
  17. Except as otherwise provided in this Agreement, the Parties waive and relinquish any and all rights or claims, in law or in equity, to apply to split or in any way share or claim any interest whatsoever, now or at any future time, in IRAs, 401(k) plans, or any defined contribution plan, defined benefits plan, retirement plan or pension, savings plan, or profit sharing plan of any type available through employment, or any benefits thereof, which the other Party presently has or may acquire in the future.
  18. GENERAL RELEASE
  19. Each Party releases all claims whatsoever and however arising, whether under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia or any other jurisdiction, including and without limiting the generality of the foregoing, whether arising by statute or at common law and including actions founded on constructive trust, resulting trust or unjust enrichment, which such Party may now or hereafter have or acquire or be entitled to against the property of the other Party, however and whenever acquired, including and without limiting the generality of the foregoing, real property, personal property, any income from such property or assets of the other Party and any increase in the value of such property, or against the estate of the other Party, but if any such action should be brought the provisions of this Agreement may be pleaded as an answer to any claim asserted and will constitute a full and complete defense thereto.
  20. GENERAL PROVISIONS
  21. The Parties will promptly sign and give to the other all documents necessary to give effect to the terms of this Agreement.
  22. This Agreement contains the entire agreement between the Parties about their relationship with each other. It replaces any earlier written or oral agreement between the Parties.
  23. Should any portion of this Agreement be held by a court of law to be invalid, unenforceable, or void, such holding will not have the effect of invalidating or voiding the remainder of this Agreement, and the Parties agree that the portion so held to be invalid, unenforceable, or void, will be deemed amended, reduced in scope, or otherwise stricken only to the extent required for purposes of validity and enforcement in the jurisdiction of such holding.
  24. The Parties may only amend this Agreement in writing after both Parties have obtained legal advice on the changes.
  25. In the event that a dispute arises regarding this Agreement, the Parties will try to resolve the matter through negotiation or mediation, prior to initiating a court action.
  26. Notwithstanding that the Parties acknowledge and agree that their circumstances at the execution of this Agreement may change for any reason, including but without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the passage of years, it is nonetheless their intention to be bound strictly by the terms of this Agreement at all times.
  27. This Agreement creates a fiduciary relationship between the Parties in which each Party agrees to act with the utmost of good faith and fair dealing toward the other in all aspects of this Agreement.
  28. The Parties agree to provide and execute such further documentation as may be reasonably required to give full force and effect to each term of this Agreement.
  29. The headings of this Agreement form no part of it, and will be deemed to have been inserted for convenience only.
  30. This Agreement will be binding upon and will enure to the benefit of the Parties, their respective heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns.
  31. If the Parties reconcile, the terms of this Agreement will remain in effect unless the Parties revoke it in writing.
  32. This Agreement may only be terminated or amended by the Parties in writing signed by both of them.
  33. The laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia will govern the interpretation of this Agreement, and the status, ownership, and division of property between the Parties wherever either or both of them may from time to time reside.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the Parties have duly affixed their signatures on this ________ day of ________________, ________


SIGNED by ______________________
In the presence of:

 
   


______________________________
WITNESS

 
 

______________________________
______________________

   

______________________________
WITNESS


SIGNED by ______________________
In the presence of:

 
   


______________________________
WITNESS

 
 

______________________________
______________________

   

______________________________
WITNESS


ACKNOWLEDGMENT

THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
COUNTY OF____________________

       I, Attorney, within and for said County and Commonwealth, do certify that on this day came before me, ______________________, personally known to me, whose name is signed to the foregoing Separation Agreement and so acknowledged their signatures on this Separation Agreement and that ______________________ entered into this Separation Agreement on their own free will and volition without force or duress by any Party.

       Given my hand and seal this ___ day of ____________________, ________.





_____________________________
Attorney


ACKNOWLEDGMENT

THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
COUNTY OF____________________

       I, Attorney, within and for said County and Commonwealth, do certify that on this day came before me, ______________________, personally known to me, whose name is signed to the foregoing Separation Agreement and so acknowledged their signatures on this Separation Agreement and that ______________________ entered into this Separation Agreement on their own free will and volition without force or duress by any Party.

       Given my hand and seal this ___ day of ____________________, ________.





_____________________________
Attorney



CERTIFICATE OF INDEPENDENT LEGAL ADVICE

THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
COUNTY OF____________________

I, _______________________________, of the City of ___________________________, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Attorney, DO HEREBY CERTIFY:

THAT I was this day consulted in my professional capacity by ______________________, named in the within instrument, being a Separation Agreement, separate and apart from ______________________, as to their legal rights and liabilities under the terms and conditions of it, and that I acted solely for them, and explained fully to them the nature and effect of this foregoing Separation Agreement and they did execute it in my presence, and did acknowledge and declare that they were executing it of their own volition and without any fear, threats, compulsion or influence from ______________________ or any other person.

DATED at the City of _________________, in the Commonwealth of Virginia this ___day of _________, 20___.

 


________________________
Print Name: ____________
Attorney


I, ______________________, the person named in the annexed Agreement, hereby acknowledges the foregoing this ____day of ______________20___.

 


________________________
______________________


CERTIFICATE OF INDEPENDENT LEGAL ADVICE

THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
COUNTY OF____________________

I, _______________________________, of the City of _________________________, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Attorney, DO HEREBY CERTIFY:

THAT I was this day consulted in my professional capacity by ______________________, named in the within instrument, being a Separation Agreement, separate and apart from ______________________, as to their legal rights and liabilities under the terms and conditions of it, and that I acted solely for them, and explained fully to them the nature and effect of this foregoing Separation Agreement and they did execute it in my presence, and did acknowledge and declare that they were executing it of their own volition and without any fear, threats, compulsion or influence from ______________________ or any other person.

DATED at the City of __________________, in the Commonwealth of Virginia this ___day of _________, 20___.

 


________________________
Print Name: ____________
Attorney

I, ______________________, the person named in the annexed Agreement, hereby acknowledges the foregoing this ______day of ______________20___.

 


________________________
______________________

Last updated April 28, 2022

What is a Separation Agreement?

A Separation Agreement is a document that two people in a marriage use to divide their assets and responsibilities while they are separated. Some spouses separate temporarily and eventually reconcile, while others separate indefinitely. In many cases, spouses separate as a step towards divorce.

If you and your spouse pursue a divorce, you may submit your Separation Agreement to the appropriate court before the divorce proceedings. The overseeing judge may consider the terms proposed in your agreement when finalizing the divorce decree in some cases.

A Separation Agreement is also known as an:

  • In-house Separation Agreement
  • Legal Separation Agreement
  • Trial Separation Agreement
  • Marriage Separation Agreement
  • Legal separation papers

What does it mean to be separated?

Being separated means that you and your spouse live apart from one another, but are still legally married. However, separating doesn't necessarily mean that each spouse has to live at a different residence.

Sometimes, a couple will consider themselves separated, but continue living in the same home for financial reasons or their children's well-being. This situation is called an in-house separation or separated but living together. In this case, being separated can mean:

  • Dividing your finances, assets, and debts
  • Physical separation, including sleeping separately
  • Disengagement from the marital contract with the intention to divorce

What does it mean to be legally separated?

Being legally separated means that you and your spouse have pursued a court order to alter your marital status. When you are legally separated, you are neither married nor divorced. Being legally separated is a distinct marital status.

What does a Separation Agreement include?

Depending on your shared property, debts, and whether you have children, you may address the following issues in your Separation Agreement:

Who should use a Separation Agreement template?

Our Separation Agreement template is for spouses who can agree on the terms of their separation. If you and your spouse can't agree, you may have to pursue mediation, arbitration, or litigation to determine your separation terms.

Also, if your circumstances involve complicated property distribution schemes, significant assets, or complex issues related to children, you might wish to seek expert legal advice.

Spouses who use a Separation Agreement template should also create or update their individual Last Wills and Powers of Attorney once they decide to separate.

When do I need a Separation Agreement?

Since there are three types of separation, you can use a Separation Agreement in various circumstances. The three types of separation, and the circumstances to which they apply, are as follows:

1. You and your spouse are living apart and deciding whether or not to end your relationship

If you and your spouse have decided to separate but have not determined whether you will reconcile or divorce, you are in a trial separation.

In this case, look at creating a Separation Agreement for the time being so you can document when you started living independently and outline both of your obligations to one another while separated.

2. You and your spouse are separated and plan on divorcing

If you and your spouse are separated and pursuing a divorce, you are permanently separated.

If you and your spouse can agree on terms related to child custody, child support, spousal support, and the division of your assets and debt, create a Separation Agreement to govern your actions during the separation period.

You may be allowed to submit your Separation Agreement to the divorce court during your divorce proceedings. Sometimes, the judge may consider the terms proposed in your agreement when finalizing the divorce, allowing you and your spouse to retain some control.

If you and your spouse would like to live separate and apart permanently, but maintain the legal relationship status of being married, pursue a legal separation. Spouses may pursue this type of separation for various reasons, including religious beliefs and tax benefits.

Legal separations are allowed in most states, not including Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, and Texas. In the states that recognize legal separation, you can file your agreement with the appropriate court so a judge can issue a court-ordered legal separation.

How should spouses divide property in a Separation Agreement?

How you and your spouse divide property is largely dependent on your circumstances. In many cases, separating spouses retain their separately owned property and divide their jointly owned property. Below are some suggestions to help you get started with the division of shared assets process:

1. Create a list of all your assets

List all assets you own jointly. Consider your vehicles, personal items, such as electronics or jewelry, and any real estate that isn't your matrimonial home. You can find a list of assets to consider in this property division checklist.

2. Appraise the value of your assets

Put a price on each asset that you're distributing. Consider seeking an expert opinion for more significant assets, such as real estate or anything else that may be difficult to value.

3. Decide the division of property

Determine whether there's a logical owner to certain property. Go through your list of assets and choose who has a reason for receiving the item. You may want to consider exchanging one larger item for several smaller items to ensure an equal split.

How do I calculate spousal support in a Separation Agreement?

Spousal support is financial support paid by one spouse to the other spouse when their marriage breaks down. Spousal support aims to redistribute wealth so that one of the spouses doesn't face economic inequality at the end of the relationship. Spousal support is also known as spousal maintenance or alimony.

Consider the following six factors when determining the terms of spousal maintenance during your separation period:

1. The length of the marriage

Sometimes, the longer a couple is married, the longer one spouse becomes financially dependent on the other.

2. The standard of living before separation

Generally, courts like to see the financially dependent spouse live according to the standard of living they've become accustomed to during their marriage.

3. The paying spouse's future financial prospects

Spouses who are likely to be earning more in the future are often expected to pay more spousal maintenance.

4. The receiving spouse's future financial prospects

Spouses that aren't likely to earn as much in the future may require more maintenance.

5. The health and age of both spouses

Younger spouses, who are in good health, generally require shorter periods of support because they can still enter the workforce and find a means of providing for themselves. On the other hand, if one spouse is older or in poor health, they may require more support as they may not be able to provide for themselves.

6. The sacrifices and contributions of both spouses during the marriage

Suppose the spouse who requires support has contributed to the other spouse's career or has suffered an economic disadvantage because of a career compromise (e.g., raising the children of the marriage while the other spouse works). In that case, that spouse can usually expect to be compensated accordingly by the other spouse.

Can I include pets in a Separation Agreement?

Yes, you can outline a pet's custody in a Separation Agreement. Many people consider pets to be family. Agreeing to custody or visitation can prevent future disagreements about one party seeing or keeping any pets.

If you and your spouse are separating and want to outline more specific details about a pet's care, you may use a Pet Agreement.

What happens to my Separation Agreement if my spouse and I reconcile?

Our Separation Agreement template outlines that your contract will remain in effect unless either party revokes it in writing. If you and your spouse eventually reconcile after being separated, use our Termination Agreement to cancel the Separation Agreement.

Will my Separation Agreement be legally recognized?

First off, you do not need to file your Separation Agreement with a court. A Separation Agreement is a contract between two parties and therefore is governed by contract law. The contract binds both parties to its terms. Therefore, if either party breaches the contract, the other can file a legal claim.

If there is a legal dispute and your Separation Agreement is presented to a judge, they may reject the terms of your agreement if:

  • Its terms aren't in the best interest of your children
  • You or your spouse haven't fully disclosed certain assets or liabilities
  • Its terms are unfair (e.g., one spouse waives their right to support without proper compensation)
  • It has not been properly witnessed

In addition, a Separation Agreement shouldn't contradict any other binding agreements, such as a Prenuptial Agreement or Postnuptial Agreement.

Related Documents:

  • Online Divorce: Prepare all the necessary documents for a no-fault, uncontested divorce.
  • Prenuptial Agreement: Before you marry your spouse, divide your assets, debts, properties, and other finances in case of a separation or death.
  • Postnuptial Agreement: During your marriage, divide your and your spouse's assets, debts, properties, and other finances in case of a separation or death.
  • Power of Attorney: Authorize another person to make decisions on your behalf. Update this document after major life events, such as separation or divorce.
  • Last Will and Testament: Indicate how you wish to divide your estate after you pass away. Update this document after major life events like separation or divorce.
  • Termination Agreement: Cancel your Separation Agreement if you and your spouse reconcile.
  • Child Visitation Letter: Plan a visit with your child or inform their other parent of a breach in the visitation agreement.
  • Child Travel Consent: Create proof of your consent when your child travels alone, with only one parent, or with another adult who is not their legal guardian.

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