Free Separation Agreement Template

If you are preparing to separate from your spouse, a Separation Agreement can be used to set the terms for a division of assets. Create a Separation Agreement with our step-by-step template editor.

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What Is a Separation Agreement

A Separation Agreement is a legal agreement used by 2 people in a marriage who have **decided to separate **while remaining legally married or before they petition for a divorce.

This written contract defines how the following will be allocated:

  • Property
  • Assets
  • Bills
  • Debts
  • Spousal support

It also typicall mentions how other shared responsibilities, such as child custody or support, will be split up.

A Separation Agreement is also often referred to as:

  • Marriage Separation Agreement
  • Divorce Agreement
  • Marital Settlement Agreement
  • Legal Separation Papers
  • Separation Papers

Difference Between Separation, Legal Separation and Divorce

Ending a marriage can be a complicated matter, and there are different stages which both parties must go through to complete the process.


If you decide to live apart from your partner, while still remaining legally married, this is known as a “separation” or “trial separation”.

This is an informal agreement between both spouses, and there are no judges or lawyers involved.

If the spouses have not yet decided to divorce, a Temporary Separation Agreement can be used to set the preliminary terms for a division of property and establish the rules of your separation and the rights of each spouse.

If the couple already has the intention to divorce then they are considered to be in a “permanent separation” by the law and a Permanent Separation Agreement can be drafted.

Legal Separation

On the other hand, a “legal separation" involves getting a court to approve your separation and to put together an official legal Separation Agreement. This requires filing a petition in family court.

While you will remain married, you won’t be able to marry anyone else until the divorce, but the financial connection you have to your spouse will be terminated.


Finally, a “divorce” officially ends and legally dissolves a marriage. In this case, a court is required to approve this decision and draft an agreement dividing property and settling spouse rights.

When to Use a Separation Agreement

There are various situations in which a Separation Agreement can be used.

Whether you’re looking to legally separate from your spouse, seek a divorce, or separate informally, this legally binding document can be used to detail all aspects of a separation.

Here are some of the most common reasons to use a Separation Agreement:

  • You have decided to separate with your spouse and want to determine how to divide your property and assets
  • You are ready to separate for some time and live independently from your spouse, but not yet ready to get a divorce or want to take some time before making a final decision on dissolving the marriage.
  • You want to get a divorce and already know how you want to allocate your assets or other responsibilities and prefer to define this yourself rather than leave it up to the court.
  • You want to permanently maintain your legal marriage status while simultaneously living separately from your spouse.
  • You want to prepare an outline for the division of finances or other assets before meeting with an attorney regarding legal separation.
  • You are deciding whether to do a legal separation and want to set the preliminary terms for a division of assets in advance.

What to Include in a Separation Agreement

A Separation Agreement includes various key terms, which can differ depending on what responsibilities the married couple wants to outline.

This agreement often addresses many of the same specifications as a divorce decree, such as:

  • Division of marital assets such as property, financial accounts, insurance, business interests, and retirement accounts
  • Division of debt responsibilities
  • Spousal support, including maintenance and alimony
  • Child custody, child support payments, and visitation rights
  • Allocation of costs such as health insurance and whether spouses are entitled to any specific assets
  • Responsibilities relating to marital property expenses such as utilities, insurance, and mortgage
  • Spousal benefits and who will pay for them

How to Write a Separation Agreement

Writing a Separation Agreement is relatively straightforward.

By using LawDistrict’s step-by-step document builder, you can write your own Separation Agreement and then have it reviewed by a lawyer to make certain it meets your state’s requirements.

In certain states, a Separation Agreement must also be filed with the state when seeking legal separation or divorce, and it must be signed by both spouses.

Furthermore, a Separation Agreement must contain the following information for it to be legally valid:

  • Name and address of both spouses
  • Details of the marriage
  • Beginning date of the separation
  • Statement of the intention to separate
  • Terms of use of the agreement
  • Specifications regarding the division of assets and the shared financial or child responsibilities of both parties

Living Separate and Apart Meaning

If spouses are living separately and apart, this means they are residing in different locations without any intention to reconcile or resume a marital relationship and have the intention to divorce.

Living separately and apart is also a ground for divorce.

How to Get a Separation Agreement

To create your own Separation Agreement template, you will need to determine the terms of the separation with your spouse.

Both parties must also be honest and open about their financial situations.

Once you have finalized these details, you should draw up your document.

The agreement must be in writing, and it must be signed by both parties in the presence of a witness. Once your document is prepared, depending on your state of residence and what type of separation you will be using it for, you may need to file it with a local court.

With our Separation Agreement template, you can quickly create your own form to assist with your legal journey.

Sample Separation Agreement

It can be difficult to complete a Separation Agreement template without first seeing an example.

Review our sample below before you begin to get a clearer view of what a Separation Agreement looks like and to make the process of writing your own document more simple.

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Separation Agreement Sample

FAQs About Separation Agreement

If you still have some doubts or questions about creating your own Separation Agreement, don’t worry. We’ve answered the most common queries about how these essential legal documents work in our FAQs below.

What Happens if You Don’t Sign a Separation Agreement?

There is no law that requires spouses to sign a separation agreement. Therefore, if either party refuses to sign the document, the other spouse cannot force the unwilling spouse to do so.

Trying to coerce the other party through threats or manipulation can lead to the Separation Agreement not being valid or enforceable in court.

If a party can show that the agreement was not signed voluntarily, that its terms are not reasonable, or that it was the result of fraud, then the document will be set aside.

What Happens After a Separation Agreement Is Signed?

Once both spouses have signed the agreement, it becomes a legally binding contract that both parties must follow.

As a result, either party can sue the other if the agreement is breached and force them to comply with its terms.

How to File a Separation Agreement?

If you are pursuing a legal separation or divorce, you must file a Separation Agreement with a local court.

The agreement must then be served to your spouse.

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Separation Agreement Sample

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Preview of your Separation Agreement


AGREEMENT (the "Agreement") made this ____ day of ___________, 20___.
residing at _________


residing at _________

A. The spouses are _________ and _________ (collectively the "Parties" and individually a "Party").

WHEREAS the Parties have been lawfully married since _________ and celebrated their marriage in _________, _________. WHEREAS certain differences and difficulties have arisen between the Parties, and they have no expectation of resuming their marital relationship. WHEREAS, the Parties intend to separate immediately and live apart, subject to the conditions in this Agreement.
B. The consideration for this Agreement is the mutual promises and agreements the Parties have made regarding all property and financial related matters.
C. All matters addressed in this agreement will be considered final and a part of the final decree of divorce. However, this agreement can be amended in a subsequent separation agreement.
D. The Parties were fully advised and informed by their respective attorneys of their rights and liabilities under the terms of this Agreement.
E. The Parties entered into this Agreement of their own accord. The Parties confirm that they are of sound mind and chose willingly not to receive legal counsel from an attorney.
NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the mutual promises, covenants, and undertaking hereinafter more fully set forth, and for other good and valuable considerations, the parties agree as follows:
1. From the date of execution of this Agreement, the Parties shall live separate and apart from each other, free from the marital control of the other spouse. The Parties agree not to occupy, visit or attend the other Party's property, workspace, or social space without a prior agreement.
2. The Parties do not have minor children from the marriage. The Parties' children from the marriage are emancipated adults without any need for economic support.
3. The Parties do not claim to be entitled to spousal maintenance. Moreover, the Parties explicitly waive any present and future claim to spousal maintenance. Finally, this waiver shall apply independently of any future change in the circumstances of either Party.
4. The Parties hereby state that they have agreed on all matters related to the division of assets. Moreover, the Parties do not claim any assets that might be in the other party's possession.
5. The Parties will not incur any further debt or liability. If an individual party incurs any debt as of the date of execution of this Agreement, only that Party will be responsible for that debt, even if that debt was the result of joint credit.

6. The Parties agree that they are aware of the laws of the _________.

It is the intention of the Parties that the laws will not apply to the ownership, interest, and division of their property, real or personal, either jointly or separately owned, and owned by either one or both of them.

The Parties further agree to make a final settlement of all property matters, real or personal, owned by the Parties, and contract out of the laws of the _________.
7. The Parties renounce any rights they might have in the administration of the other's estate under any law of the _________, any other state of the United States of America, or any country in which there may be any part of the estate of either Party. The Parties also waive and release the other from any rights that each may acquire in property, assets, or estate as the other's spouse or a surviving spouse.
8. The Parties waive any present or future rights or claims, in which either party may have any interest, to any 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.
9. The Parties release all claims under the statutes or common law of the _________ or any other jurisdiction, including actions founded on constructive trust, resulting trust or unjust enrichment, which such Parties may have or acquired or will acquire and be entitled to against the property of the other. However, whenever real property, personal property, or any income from such property or assets of the other Party is acquired, and there is an increase in the value of such property or against the estate of the other Party, 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 defense thereto.
10. If either party shall apply for a divorce and the court shall grant the same, this agreement shall be submitted to the court for approval, and if it is approved by the court, its terms shall be incorporated into the decree of divorce and operate as a final determination of the property rights of the parties, subject to the provisions in this agreement for modification in case of changed conditions of the parties.
11. This contract shall be binding on the heirs, personal representatives, and assigns of the parties.
12. This Agreement and all rights and claims herein described shall be interpreted in accordance with the laws of the _________.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the Parties have duly affixed their signatures on this ____ day of ___________, 20___.
SIGNED by _________ and _________, in the presence of:
Stage Separation Legal Separation Divorce
Definition A couple has decided to live apart and remain legally married A couple lives apart through a court order but remains married The legal end to a marriage
Formality Informal Formal Informal
Duration Can be temporary or permanent Can be temporary or permanent Permanent
Possibility to Remarry Parties cannot remarry Parties cannot remarry Parties are free to remarry
(Signature of Witness)     
(Print Name) 


(Signature of Witness)     
(Print Name) 



I, _______________________________, of ___________________________, _________, Attorney at law, DO HEREBY CERTIFY:

THAT on this day and in my professional capacity, I gave legal advice to _________, apart from _________, regarding their legal rights and liabilities under the terms and conditions of this Separation Agreement. I acted for their sole interest and fully explained to them the legal effect of this Separation Agreement. The Parties executed this agreement in my presence and declared that they were executing it of their own free-will and without any threats, coercion or influence from _________ or any other person.

DATED at the City of _________________, in the _________ this ____ day of ___________, 20___.

Print Name: _________________

I, _________, the person named in the annexed Agreement, hereby acknowledge the foregoing this ____ day of ___________, 20___.

I, _______________________________, of ___________________________, _________, Attorney at law, DO HEREBY CERTIFY:

THAT on this day and in my professional capacity, I gave legal advice to _________, apart from _________, regarding their legal rights and liabilities under the terms and conditions of this Separation Agreement. I acted for their sole interest and fully explained to them the legal effect of this Separation Agreement. The Parties executed this agreement in my presence and declared that they were executing it of their own free-will and without any threats, coercion or influence from _________ or any other person.

DATED at the City of _________________, in the _________ this ____ day of ___________, 20___.

Print Name: _________________

I, _________, the person named in the annexed Agreement, hereby acknowledge the foregoing this ____ day of ___________, 20___.

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