Separation Agreement

A separation agreement (or settlement agreement) is an agreement between the spouses that sets forth the terms and conditions by which the parties will live apart. The agreement must be signed by the parties before a notary and filed with the County Clerk in the county where one of the parties resides.The agreement makes easier to settle any disputes over property, debt, alimony, child custody, visitation, insurance, tax, and child support.

No formal court hearing is required for parties to sign this agreement. If spouses both signed the separation agreement, the judge will grant couple’s request and incorporate the agreement into the divorce agreement. However, the court may modify some provisions in the agreement.

People confuse the “separation agreement” with a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement is signed before a marriage (nuptial) and will govern the rights and duties during and after the marriage. Any postnuptial agreement is signed after a couple gets married.

A separation agreement does not terminate the marriage. It also does not free the parties to remarry.

Any subsequent agreement signed by spouses revokes any previous agreements. The separation agreement can also be revoked if parties begin to reside together again as husband and wife.  Living together does not automatically revoke the agreement; it is only evidence of an intention to revoke it.

While a separation agreement greatly simplifies the divorce process, it does not completely eliminate the involvement of the court.