Separation and Settlement Agreement-Beware!

What Is a Separation Agreement?

A SEPARATION AGREEMENT IS: a formal acknowledgement that two spouses have agreed to separate but remain legally married. A document listing the terms of

Closeup of male hand signing divorce papers.

the separation and the responsibilities of each spouse. Primarily a permanent agreement which will be used as the terms of your final divorce.

It is important to note that except for proven fraud a separation or settlement agreement is very hard to change, buyers remorse is seldom considered. Be sure the agreement you enter into has EVERYTHING IN IT, no side agreements, no signing because you just want it over or to save money in the short term, etc.

In New York State the agreement must follow the specific laws and have specific language to be enforceable or used for divorce. Do not rely on a global internet to provide you with that document. If it is not correct, the agreement you rely on may not actually be your settlement and can cost you money, fees and assets.  Choices based on saving money can really cost you in the end.

What Information Do I Include in a Separation Agreement?

A Separation Agreement addresses important matters such as:


Type of custody: sole or joint

Visitation schedules

Child support payments, including frequency and amount

Division of other costs such as health insurance

Where they go to school

Parental fitness



Spousal support payments, including frequency and amount

When payments will end


What will happen to the marital home, who keeps it, who cares for it while sale pending, what is it worth

Whether spouses are entitled to any specific assets, like financial accounts, pensions or investments

Who is responsible for any debts.

Do You Need Another Legal Form? 

  • Outline the custody and care of pets after a separation with a Pet Agreement.
  • If you have minor children, make sure to sign a Child Travel Consent regarding permission to travel alone with them.
  • If you get divorced, be sure to update your Last Will and Testament.
  • Qualified Domestic Relations Order so that you secure your interest in the spouses pensions, retirements or other financial assets.