Separation Agreements and Asset Disputes
A "separation agreement" is a contract entered into during a marriage or (rarely) before a marriage. It adjusts or preserves the nature of the property that is the subject of the agreement. A couple can change their property interests relative to one another throughout the duration of their marriage. Usually, this is called a pre- or post-nuptial agreement. When it concerns divorce, it is called a seperation agreement.
A separation agreement should be used when the couple decides to legally separate and come to an agreement to split their property. Separation agreements also allow parties to live separate and apart without being accused of dissertion. Frequently, the parties must be apart for at least 6 months before a final divorce may be sought. The terms of this "apart" time are often covered in the separaton agreement. This agreement can be enforced in court and is the basis for property distribution at the divorce hearing.
The agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties. Check your jursidiction as to whether you need witnesses or a notary for the agreement to be valid.
Sample Separation Agreements'
Before continuing with this document, please read and acknowledge the following: _____/_____ (initial) This is an important legal document. By signing below, you agree that you have thoroughly and carefully reviewed the contents of this Agreement. Each party expressly acknowledges that he/she has had the opportunity to consult with consul of his/her choice. _____/_____(initial) Each party has three days from the time the document is signed to withdraw consent to this Agreement without penalty. If so withdrawn, the Separation Agreement becomes void and negotiations between the parties will begin anew.
This AGREEMENT is made between ________ and _________, Husband and Wife, to determine all property rights, including property and debt distribution, between them.
The parties to this Agreement represent the following:
1. They were married on ____ in Washington DC Metropolitan Area. 2. Irreconcilable differences have arisen between the parties and they are now living separate and apart. 3. There are no minor children of the marriage, either by birth or adoption, and the Wife is not pregnant. 4. The parties intend this agreement to be a full and complete settlement of their rights, one to another, as to the duty of support to one another now or in the future, any rights of inheritance from one another, and any rights to any interest in or to any property of the other, whether acquired before, during, or after marriage, or other rights or benefits that may arise from the marital relationship.
The parties therefore agree as follows:
Each party shall hereafter live separate and apart from the other, and neither shall annoy, molest, interfere with or harass the other in any way or manner, either directly or indirectly.
/_____(initial) Neither party shall pay to the other any amount, either in installments or in a lump-sum, for spousal support. This provision may not be modified.
Division of Property and Debts
A. Real Estate The parties own ___ located at ____. The property was purchased during the course of the marriage. The deed and the mortgage are in the name of the Wife. Husband renounces any and all claims, for himself, his heirs, his estate, and his agents, now and forever, on said property. He relinquishes any rights or entitlements to said property now and forever, agreeing to sole and complete possession by the wife of the same. This includes but is not limited to any right to ownership, lease, rents, or any form of utilization, control or direction. Husband shall not be entitled to any payments from said properties, nor any debts accrued thereon, either in the past, the present, or the future. Wife agrees to assume any and all outstanding liabilities and indemnify Husband from any future costs associated with the property. B. Household Goods, Furnishings and Personal Property Each party shall keep any households goods, furnishings, and personal property now in that party's possession, free of any claim of the other. C. Motor Vehicles Each party shall retain title to and possession of all motor vehicles, boats, campers and other titled or registered conveyances, now titled or registered in that party's name. The party retaining the vehicle shall be solely responsible for any debt on or expenses regarding that vehicle and indemnify and hold harmless the other party from any and all liability associated with the motor craft. D. Bank Accounts and Employee Benefits Each party shall retain any bank or investment accounts in that party's name as well as any employee benefits, including pension, retirement, stock ownership, 401(k) or other employer plans, free and clear of any claim of the other. There are no joint accounts to be closed and/or divided. E. Life Insurance Policies Each party shall retain any life insurance policies owned by that party, and the parties give up any interest in being named beneficiaries of the other policies. F. Debts Each party shall pay those debts in the parties name, and neither party shall incur any debts in the name of or on the credit of the other party. There are no joint debts.
The Court costs will be paid by Husband. Any legal fees will be paid by the party incurring the fees without recourse to the other spouse.
______/______ (initial) This agreement is a full and complete settlement of all spousal rights and property claims, inheritance, descent and distribution, allowance for support and maintenance, exemption from administration, all rights as surviving spouse, heir, legatee, and next-of-kin in the estate of the other, and all rights to administer estate of the other, and in all property rights that each now has, or may acquire in the future, except as specifically agreed to in this Separation Agreement. This Agreement shall be binding on other parties heirs, administrators, executors, and assigns.
Incorporation Into Decree
It is agreed and understood that this agreement shall not constitute consent by either party to a divorce or dissolution of marriage; however, in this event that either party files for divorce action or dissolution proceeding is begun, the parties agree that this entire Agreement shall be disclosed and presented to the Court in that proceeding or in any such proceeding now pending, with the request that it shall be determined to be fair, just, and proper, and that this Agreement and all its terms and provisions be adopted by that Court, and made part of the order of that Court in its final decree of divorce or dissolution.
Implementation of Agreement
Except as otherwise provided in this Agreement, each party shall upon the signing of this Agreement, deliver to the other party, or permit the other party to take possession of, all items of property to which each is entitled. Within 14 days after the filing of the decree of divorce or dissolution that incorporates this Agreement, whether modified or amended, each party shall execute or sign and shall deliver any and all deeds, titles, certificates, or other documents necessary to carry out execution of this Agreement. Auditor, county record, clerk of courts, and any other public/private officials are hereby authorized and directed to accept this Agreement, or a properly certified copy of it, in lieu of the document regularly required for such conveyance or transfer.
Full Knowledge and Disclosure
____/____ (initials) Each party acknowledges that he/she has read all the terms and conditions of this Agreement and understands all the terms. Each party further represents that he/she has made a full and honest disclosure of all assets and liabilities, earnings and beliefs, so that the other party could take such representations into account while negotiating this Agreement. Each party further represents that he/she is satisfied with the disclosure made by the other party.
Modification of Agreement
This Agreement may only be modified in writing. Any modifications must be signed by both parties. No waiver or breach of any one term shall be considered a waiver of any other duty or right under this Agreement, including and subsequent breach or default of a similar nature.
This document is fully integrated and supersedes any other Agreement on the same topic. Further, there are no other considerations or modifications of this Agreement outside the bounds of this document; the Separation Agreement is fully integrated.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties have signed this Agreement before the witnesses and on the date set forth below:
Signed in the presence of:
Signature of witness to Husband Signature of Husband
Signature of witness to Husband Printed Name of Husband
Signature of witness to Wife Signature of Wife Signature of witness to Wife Printed Name of Wife Date Signed