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Some couples choose not to divorce or choose to separate for a time before they petition for a divorce or dissolution of marriage. A Marriage Separation Agreement outlines how assets, debts and... Read more

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Sample Marriage Separation Agreement

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of , , , born , and of , , , born , being sworn do hereby state the following statements are true and correct and that except as otherwise specifically stated in this Agreement, this Agreement serves as a full and final settlement of all matters of joint concern for the parties, including all property rights, debts, spousal support, child custody, visitation, and child support. The parties agree this Agreement contains a fair, just and equitable division of property and debts and is satisfactory to both parties.

  1. JURISDICTION. and acknowledge they have

    both resided in county for years and

    residency requirements of the State of .

    months which satisfies the

  2. ARMED FORCES. Neither party is a member of the Armed Forces.

  3. MARRIAGE DATE. The parties were married to each other on in

    , and child(ren) was born to this marriage.

    The remaining minor children of the marriage are as follows:

    who was born . The parties are not currently expecting any children.

  4. SEPARATION DATE. The parties date of separation is .

  5. CAUSE OF DISSOLUTION. Due to irreconcilable differences the marriage of the parties has been irretrievably broken and there is no possibility of reconciliation.

  6. DISCLOSURE. The parties acknowledge that each has made a full disclosure of all assets and debts owned jointly or individually. Whether community or separate property, nothing has been withheld and each party believes the other has been truthful in their disclosure.

  7. INCOME.

  8. CUSTODY. The parties acknowledge that this is the home state of the children pursuant to this state's Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. The children have resided in this state for more than six months before this action began and no other court has made a child custody determination.


    1. Legal Custody. Legal custody for the purpose of this agreement refers to the authority to make major decisions regarding minor children of the marriage, which can include but is not limited to health care, religion, and education. The parties agree to maintain joint legal custody of their minor children.

    2. Physical Custody. Physical custody for the purpose of this agreement refers to the authority to make routine and day-to-day decisions regarding the children and where the children's primary residence will be. The parties agree to maintain joint physical custody of the minor children.

      The joint custody arrangement will have the following schedule:

    3. Holiday/Extended Visitation. The parents believe they can work together to establish a holiday visitation schedule.

    4. Transportation. The parties agree to equally divide the cost of transportation for all visitation.

    5. Notification. The parties agree that neither party will change the residence of the minor children of the parties without adequate prior written notification. The parties further agree that this visitation and custody agreement will be reassessed if either party relocates and the new residence makes the current agreement unfeasible to manage. The parties agree to provide one another with their current phone number and physical address.

    6. Childcare. The parties agree to allow one another the first opportunity to have the children if he or she is unable to care for the children during their scheduled time. The parties agree to work together to make decisions regarding childcare providers.

    7. Health Insurance.

    8. Non-Covered Medical. The parties agree that each party shall be responsible for 50% of any non-covered or co-pay expenses related to medical, dental, optometric, orthodontic, physical therapy, psychiatric or pharmaceutical needs of the minor children. A parent shall provide the other with a statement documenting any payments made and the other parent shall reimburse the paying parent within 30 days of receipt of this statement.

    9. Taxes Related to Children.

    10. Parental Rights and Responsibilities. Each parent has the following rights and responsibilities unless they relinquish their parental rights:

      1. Right to access and obtain copies of the children's educational, medical, dental, religious, insurance, and other records or information.

      2. Right to attend educational conferences concerning the children. This right does not require any school to hold a separate conference with each parent.

      3. Right to reasonable access to the children by written, telephonic, and electronic means.

      4. Duty to inform the other parent as soon as reasonably possible of a serious accident or serious illness for which the children receive health care treatment. The parent shall provide to the other parent a description of the serious accident or serious illness, the time of the serious accident or serious illness, and the name and location of the treating health care provider.

      5. Duty to immediately inform the other parent of residential telephone numbers and address, and any changes to the same.

      6. Duty to keep the other parent informed of the name and address of the school the children attend.

      The court shall include, in an order establishing or modifying parental rights and responsibilities' the rights and duties listed in this section; however, the court may restrict or exclude any right or duty listed in this section if the order states the reason in support of the restriction or exclusion. The court shall consider any domestic violence protection orders regarding the parties when determining whether to restrict or exclude any right or duty listed in this section.

  10. CHILD SUPPORT. The parties have agreed to child support in the amount of $0.00 per month which is based on .

    Child support payments will commence the 1st day of the month following the entry of the decree. Child Support payment must be paid by the 1st day of the month directly to the custodial parent.

  11. COOPERATION AGREEMENT. The parties agree to cooperate with one another in signing any papers or legal documents needed to finalize this agreement or any provision contained in this agreement, including deeds, title certificates, etc. Within 10 days of notification of Entry of Judgment, the parties shall execute any document, transfer papers, titles or other documents to effect the provisions of this Agreement and any resulting Decree of Legal Separation. In the event a party fails to sign transfer documents, the final Decree of Legal Separation shall operate to transfer title.

  12. DIVISION OF ASSETS. Each party shall receive any and all, tangible and intangible, property in his/her possession unless stated otherwise in this agreement.

    1. Marital Home. The parties agree will remain in the home located at , , and have sole rights to occupy the home during the legal separation. will have

      days to refinance the home into his or her separate name. If the party retaining the marital home is unable or fails to refinance the home in the allotted time, the other party can request the Court to require the sale of the property. The parties agree to share expenses related to the marital home during the legal separation as follows:

      The parties further agree will retain the home located at

      , ,

      and have sole and absolute ownership of the same in the event this legal separation is converted to a divorce.

  13. DEBTS. Each spouse will be responsible for any indebtedness incurred in his or her individual name prior to the date of marriage unless otherwise specifically stated in this agreement. Each spouse will be responsible for any indebtedness incurred in his or her individual name subsequent to the date of separation, , unless otherwise specifically stated in this agreement. Each spouse will be responsible for any indebtedness incurred in his or her individual name during the course of the marriage unless otherwise specifically stated in this agreement.



    years of age, has been married for

    years, has a total monthly income of $, and has total monthly expenses of $ .

    has a gross monthly income of $ from all sources and has the ability to pay support. agrees to pay spousal support in the amount of $ per month . Spousal support payments shall be paid no later than the day of the month.

  15. MEDICAL INSURANCE. The parties agree will no longer be obligated to maintain and pay health and medical benefits, including dental, for their spouse after the legal separation is granted.

  16. NAME CHANGE. will have the authority to change his or her name to should he or she desire.

  17. TAXES. The parties are not aware of any outstanding tax issues at this time.

  18. FUTURE DISPUTE SETTLEMENT. The parties agree that if any dispute, question, disagreement, or change occurs affecting the terms of this Agreement, they will work together to negotiate with each other in good faith, in consideration of their mutual interest, with the purpose of reaching a solution, which is beneficial for the parties. In the event negotiations fail, the parties agree to first seek mediation, through a qualified mediator selected jointly by the parties. Either party may terminate mediation at any time. In the event the dispute is not resolved, either party may motion the Court governing this Agreement and the resulting Decree of Legal Separation or judgment for a decision regarding the disputed matter.

  19. FULL DISCLOSURE OF ASSETS AND LIABILITIES. The parties hereby represent that they have each made full disclosure to the other party of their individual assets. Each represents that he or she has provided the other with a current financial statement in the proper form pursuant to Rule 401 of the Supplemental Probate Court Rules, which discloses fully and completely all of his or her income, assets, expenses and liabilities. By executing this

    Agreement, the parties represent that the terms and provisions of this Agreement are fair, just and reasonable and are not the product of fraud, coercion or undue influence and that each signs this Agreement freely and voluntarily.

  20. SUBMISSION OF AGREEMENT TO COURT. The parties each agree that this Separation Agreement shall be submitted to the Court for a judge's approval of the terms and entry of Judgment of Legal Separation.

We request the Court order a permanent legal separation and a final disposition regarding all matters contained in this agreement. In addition, should the parties decide to proceed with a Petition for Divorce or Dissolution of Marriage, the parties ask that this agreement be recognized and incorporated into any final decree issued in that regard.

We agree and declare that we have entered into this agreement freely and voluntarily. We believe that this agreement contains a fair and reasonable division of all of the issues related to our marriage. We ask the Court approve this agreement and incorporate all of the terms and conditions into a Final Order and Decree of Legal Separation.

By executing this Agreement I swear that to my knowledge the information contained herein is a full and complete disclosure and it is my intention that this Agreement is a full and final division of the property and debts involved in this marriage and that I am satisfied with the agreement contained herein.


, ,

STATE OF , ss:


Notary Public

Title (and Rank)

My commission expires

By executing this Agreement I swear that to my knowledge the information contained herein is a full and complete disclosure and it is my intention that this Agreement is a full and final division of the property and debts involved in this marriage and that I am satisfied with the agreement contained herein.


, ,

STATE OF , ss: COUNTY OF , ss:

Notary Public

Title (and Rank)

My commission expires

Filing for a Legal Separation

A legal separation can be the first step towards a couple's decision to divorce or it can be an option for those wishing to live apart without dissolving the marriage. In a legal separation, the spouses live separate and apart from one another in an effort to either resolve their marital issues or come to a final determination on how their property will be divided if they proceed to get a divorce. States vary on how they treat spouses who are legally separated and what rights are associated with a legal separation versus a full divorce. The most significant issue is the right to remarry, which is not available to couples who are not divorced.

Reasons for Filing for Legal Separation

-The couple is not emotionally ready to proceed with a divorce.

-The couple can no longer live together, but do not believe in divorce.

-The couple resides in a state that requires a separation period prior to divorce.

-The couple wants to finalize the separation of property, other assets and debts before beginning the divorce proceedings.

-One of the spouses has spent 5-6 years of confinement in a hospital due to mental illness.

It is important to understand that a legal separation action is not necessarily cheaper or faster than a divorce. It could actually be more expensive than a divorce as the party will have to repeat the entire process of filing an action for divorce if they decide to proceed with a divorce. If the spouses know they will ultimately divorce, it may be beneficial to proceed with a divorce directly. For additional help, information and forms you should visit Rocket Lawyer's Divorce Legal Center at or reach out to an attorney in RocketLawyer's OnCall network.

How to file for Legal Separation

In general, a legal separation action follows the same path and process as a divorce. Every state has its own procedures and requirements for legal separation. In many states, you do not need to prove fault when filing for a legal separation. Instead you may need to assert there are irreconcilable differences that prevent the couple from living together as a married couple.

This Marriage Separation Agreement is just a first step. There are other state-specific court forms that will need to be completed. You will need to check with your state's court website to determine the other documents that will need to be filed. Furthermore, the specific documents and the process towards legal separation may differ from county to county.

Generally, to start an action for legal separation, one spouse, called the Petitioner or the Plaintiff, must file a Petition for Legal Separation, Summons and/or Complaint. These documents start the action and inform the Court of basic facts about the couple and why they desire to divorce. If you have children under the age of 18 with your spouse or domestic partner, you will need to fill out a Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA).

Check with your local county clerk for the forms. Once the documents are filed, the Petitioner will serve the Respondent (the other spouse) with a copy of the papers. At this point, some states require a Financial Affidavit or other form of disclosure regarding the spouses' assets and debts.

In addition, if children are involved, the Court may require the parents to complete a Parenting Plan or an education course. If the spouses agree on how to divide their property, other assets and debts, they should prepare and submit their Marriage Separation Agreement to the court. After reviewing the Agreement, the Court will issue a Decree of Legal Separation or Limited Divorce as long as the Agreement is found to be fair and equitable by the Court.

File Your Forms with the Court Clerk

You will have to submit all forms (the originals and the copies) to the appropriate county court clerk. A filing fee will be administered, but a fee waiver may be available to those who qualify.

Serve Your First Set of Court Forms

You will need to inform your spouse that you have started the legal process for a legal separation. To do this, copies of your court documents must be properly "served" to your spouse. Your state court website may have more information on what can constitute proper service, but generally you will have to find someone 18 or older (not you) to deliver a copy of your papers to your spouse or domestic partner. You may hire a process server to accomplish this.

File Your Proof of Service

Once you have served you spouse, you will need to have your process server complete a proof of service and possibly other state-specific documents that will notify the judge of when and how he or she served the papers. Once you have the completed proof of service back from the process server, you will need to make copies and file with the court clerk. You may reach out to an attorney if you encounter any difficulties serving the forms or locating your spouse.

After You Serve Your Forms

You will have to wait for a state-mandated time period from the date he or she was served for your spouse to file a response with the court. Depending on whether the respondent responds or not, will determine your next steps. Once you have an open court case, you may request court orders for custody and visitation, child support, or spousal support if necessary; check with your state court website or county clerk.

Additional Forms and Financial Disclosures

Once you have filed your petition in your legal separation case, there may be even more additional forms to complete based on your state and county. These additional forms may include financial disclosures and property declarations, as well as copies of tax returns and schedule of assets and debts. If you haven't already completed your financial disclosure forms and submitted along with the petition, you will have a limited amount of time to do so.

Next Steps

Please consult your local county court or clerk to determine any necessary further steps to proceed with the legal separation process.

Residency and Separation Requirements

In order to file for a legal separation, most states have a residency requirement that must be met before the action will be granted. Residency refers to the length of time you have resided in the

state and county where you are filing for divorce. You will need to check with your County Clerk's office to see if you meet the residency requirement for filing for legal separation.

While you are filing for a formal legal separation, the Court may still require that the couple have been separated for a set period of time prior to granting the legal separation. Many states do not have this requirement, but you should check with your local Clerk's office to make certain.

Additional Assistance

The information contained in this article and help sections provided on should not be construed as legal advice or used in lieu of seeking legal advice. If you have legal questions regarding the legal separation process or filing for legal separation, use Rocket Lawyer's Find A Lawyer search engine at to find an attorney in your area.

Making a Marriage Separation Agreement

  • What is a Marriage Separation Agreement?

    Some couples choose not to divorce or choose to separate for a time before they petition for a divorce or dissolution of marriage. A Marriage Separation Agreement outlines how assets, debts and children will be managed during the separation.

  • When should I use a Marriage Separation Agreement?

    • You and your spouse have decided to separate and agree on how to divide your property and assets.
    • You and your spouse are considering a divorce and want to separate before making a final decision on ending the marriage.
    • You are contemplating a legal separation and would like to set preliminary terms for a division of property.
    • You plan to meet with an attorney regarding a legal separation and would like to be prepared with an outline for the division of property and finances.

    Our document builder will guide you through the process of making a Separation Agreement. It outlines important details such as who will live in the family home, who pays which bills, if spousal support will be offered, and child custody arrangements.

  • What are other names for a Marriage Separation Agreement?

    Separation Agreement, Marital Settlement Agreement, Marital Separation Agreement, Legal Separation Agreement

  • What is included in a Marriage Separation Agreement?

    A Marriage Separation Agreement includes many of the same terms as a divorce decree, including the following:

    • Who will retain possession and use of the marital home
    • Who will be responsible for the expenses of the marital home (mortgage, utilities, insurance)
    • If legal separation is converted to a divorce who will pay for the expenses of the marital home
    • How will assets and debts acquired during the marriage be divided including property, financial and retirement accounts, vehicles, insurance, debts, and business or corporate interests
    • Whether spousal support will be offered
    • Whether or not spousal benefits, such as medical insurance, will continue during the separation and who will pay for them
    • The terms of child support, custody and visitation rights (see Parenting Plan)
  • What is the difference between Separation and Divorce?

    Once a divorce is finalized by the court (usually when the court issues a divorce decree) the marriage is terminated. However, with a Marriage Separation Agreement, even if it is legally binding, you will still be legally married.

    The following are common reasons for seeking a separation instead of a divorce:

    • A couple may not be emotionally ready for a divorce.
    • The couple may object to divorce for religious, social or moral reasons.
    • A couple may not want to live together but do not want a divorce.
    • A couple may want to retain medical insurance, governmental or tax benefits that may continue because the couple is still considered to be married although living separate lives.
    • A couple resides in a state that requires a separation period before the couple may file for divorce.
    • If you are going to pay spousal support during separation, having a Legal Marriage Separation Agreement is required to enforce payment.
    • A couple wants to finalize separation of property and finances and other terms before starting a divorce proceeding.

    Please note that choosing to have a legally binding Marriage Separation Agreement is not necessarily faster or less expensive than filing for a divorce. You may want to consult with an attorney to help you assess your options.

  • How is a Marriage Separation Agreement signed?

    Both parties must sign the agreement in front of a notary public. Each spouse should retain a copy of the signed agreement. You may access a copy of the unsigned agreement using your Rocket Lawyer account. Members who would like to have a digital copy of the signed agreement saved to your Rocket Lawyer account, may simply scan and upload it.

  • Are Marriage Separation Agreements legally binding?

    Yes, a Marriage Separation Agreement is legally binding, even in states that do not recognize legal separation. Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Texas do not recognize legal separation as a formal status, but will still see a Marriage Separation Agreement as a binding contract between the parties. This type of agreement is usually filed with a court, where a judge will issue a court order granting the legal separation.

  • How long can you be Legally Separated?

    In most cases, for as long as you want. While many couples eventually end up filing for a divorce, some remain separated indefinitely. Some stay legally separated until one of the spouses desires to remarry. Many choose to stay officially married but separated for financial or personal reasons. Financial reasons may include health insurance, social security or pension benefits, or shared debt.

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