Informal Separation Agreement: How To Write It Right!

Key Takeaways

  • Purpose: Understand the purpose and importance of an informal separation agreement.
  • Components: Learn the key components that should be included in the agreement.
  • Steps: Follow a step-by-step guide to drafting the agreement.
  • Legal Considerations: Be aware of the legal implications and the need for legal advice.
  • Template: Access a basic template to get started.
  • Tips: Implement tips for a successful and fair agreement.


When a marriage or partnership is on the rocks, an informal separation agreement can be a practical first step. It allows both parties to set clear expectations and arrangements without the immediate need for legal proceedings.

This guide provides a step-by-step approach to creating a fair and comprehensive informal separation agreement, along with a template to help you get started.

Understanding Informal Separation Agreements

What is an Informal Separation Agreement?

An informal separation agreement is a document created by a couple that outlines the terms of their separation. It’s not legally binding like a divorce decree but serves as a mutual understanding on critical issues like finances, property, and child custody.

Why is it Important?

This agreement helps prevent misunderstandings and conflicts during the separation period. It provides a clear framework for how things will be managed until a more permanent solution is found.

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing an Informal Separation Agreement

Step 1: Open Communication

  • Discuss the Need: Both parties should agree on the need for an agreement.
  • Identify Key Issues: List out the main points to cover, like finances, property, and child care.

Step 2: Drafting the Agreement

  • Personal Information: Include full names and addresses of both parties.
  • Date of Separation: Clearly state the separation date.
  • Children: Detail custody arrangements, visitation schedules, and child support.
  • Finances and Property: Outline how finances, debts, and property will be handled.
  • Spousal Support: If applicable, include terms of spousal support.

Step 3: Review and Revise

  • Seek Legal Advice: Though informal, getting legal advice ensures fairness and clarity.
  • Make Adjustments: Revise the document as needed to reflect both parties’ interests.

Step 4: Sign and Witness

  • Signatures: Both parties should sign the agreement.
  • Witnesses: Have one or two neutral parties witness the signing.

Legal Considerations

While an informal separation agreement can be a good starting point, it’s important to understand its limitations. It may not be enforceable in a court of law, and legal advice is crucial to ensuring that your rights are protected.

Template for an Informal Separation Agreement

[Begin Template]

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  • Title: Informal Separation Agreement
  • Parties: [Names and Addresses]
  • Separation Date: [Date]
  • Children: [Custody and Support Details]
  • Financial Arrangements: [Details]
  • Property Distribution: [Details]
  • Spousal Support: [Details]
  • Signatures: [Parties and Witnesses] [End Template]

Sample Informal Separation Agreement

This Informal Separation Agreement (“Agreement”) is made on [Date], by and between [Partner 1 Name], residing at [Partner 1 Address], and [Partner 2 Name], residing at [Partner 2 Address] (collectively referred to as “the Parties”).

Recitals The Parties were lawfully married on [Date of Marriage] and have now agreed to live separately due to irreconcilable differences. This Agreement is intended to outline the terms of their separation and their responsibilities and rights during the period of separation.

1. Separation The Parties agree to live separately and apart from each other from [Date of Separation], without interference or undue influence by the other.

2. Children The Parties have [number of children] children: [Child 1 Name, Age], [Child 2 Name, Age], etc. The Parties agree to the following terms regarding their children:

  • Custody and Visitation: [Detail custody arrangements, visitation schedules, etc.]
  • Child Support: [Detail the agreed amount, frequency, and method of child support payments.]

3. Financial Responsibilities and Property

  • Bank Accounts and Debts: [Detail how bank accounts, credit card debts, and other financial responsibilities will be handled.]
  • Property Division: [Outline the division of any joint property, including real estate, vehicles, and personal belongings.]

4. Spousal Support

  • [If applicable, detail the terms of spousal support, including the amount, frequency, and duration of payments.]

5. Miscellaneous

  • Amendments: This Agreement may only be amended or modified by a written document executed by both Parties.
  • Governing Law: This Agreement shall be governed by the laws of [State/Country].

6. Acknowledgment Each Party acknowledges that they enter into this Agreement voluntarily and without any duress or undue influence. Each Party has had the opportunity to seek independent legal advice.

Signatures [Partner 1 Name] _______________________ Date: ___________

[Partner 2 Name] ___________________________ Date: ___________

Witnessed by: [Witness Name] __________________ Date: ___________

Note: This sample provides a basic framework for an informal separation agreement. It’s crucial to customize the agreement to reflect the specific agreements made by the parties involved and to ensure that all necessary areas are covered. Legal advice is highly recommended to ensure that the agreement is fair and considers all legal aspects of separation

Tips for a Successful Informal Separation Agreement

  • Be Fair: Aim for a fair distribution and agreement.
  • Communicate: Keep open lines of communication to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Flexibility: Be willing to revise the agreement as situations change.
  • Legal Advice: Consult a lawyer to ensure the agreement is sound and fair
how to get legal separation papers

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What is an informal separation agreement?

Answer: An informal separation agreement is a written agreement between two parties who have decided to live apart but not legally divorce. The agreement outlines the terms of the separation including living arrangements, custody of children, division of property, child and spousal support, and other relevant issues.

Q. Is an informal separation agreement legally binding?

Answer: An informal separation agreement is not legally binding, but it can be enforceable in court if the terms are followed by both parties. However, it is always advisable to seek legal advice before entering into any agreement.

Q. Do I need a lawyer to create an informal separation agreement?

Answer: It is not required to have a lawyer to create an informal separation agreement, but it is advisable to consult with a lawyer to ensure that the agreement is legally sound and binding. A lawyer can also help ensure that the agreement is fair to both parties.

Q. Can an informal separation agreement be changed?

Answer: An informal separation agreement can be changed if both parties agree to the changes. The changes should be put in writing and signed by both parties to make it legally enforceable.

Q. How long does an informal separation agreement last?

Answer: An informal separation agreement lasts until the parties reconcile or until a legal divorce is obtained. However, the terms of the agreement can be modified during the separation period if both parties agree.