A couple may choose to separate, rather than divorce, for several reasons. A separation agreement can help them outline the terms and conditions of their separation.
Separation agreement reasons
Couples may choose to separate for a trial period to determine if they want to pursue divorce later or need time to reflect on their relationship. Separation may be a more practical option for couples who cannot afford a divorce due to legal fees, property division or other financial obligations.
Other couples may choose to separate because they have religious beliefs that prohibit divorce or because they have children and want to work through their issues and reconcile, without the emotional impact of a divorce on the children. In some other situations, parties may choose to separate rather than divorce to keep health benefits for one or both spouses.
A separation agreement is a written contract that both parties agree to and sign. It outlines how they will divide assets and debts. It may also address issues such as child custody, child support, spousal support and property division. It is a voluntary agreement, rather than a court ordered requirement.
It can be used as a temporary arrangement until the couple’s divorce is finalized or it can be permanent if the couple decides not to divorce but wants to remain separated.
Separation does not automatically mean that the couple’s marriage is over. Many couples put their wishes in writing and take the time they need to come to a resolution about how to move forward with their marriage.