At least a separation agreement should determine who your children will live in (if you and your spouse are parents), who is responsible for paying what bills and how real estate such as cars and the family home will be distributed and managed. A checklist for a separation agreement should include: You can use a separation agreement if you and your ex-partner are considering divorce or breaking up your life partnership, but you have not yet decided to split up. You and your spouse can legally separate for as long as you wish, but if you use separation as the basis for a divorce in that state, you must reside separately and have the separation contract in effect for at least one year. There are also certain clauses that can be found in such an agreement which, due to changes in circumstances, allow for derogations in that agreement. If you are considering divorce or severing your life partnership in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, but have not yet filed documents, you can have a separation agreement drawn up. It will determine who will pay the rent or mortgage and the bills until you decide to continue your divorce or dissolution. A separation agreement should not be filed in court, but may be submitted to the court in the event of a dispute. As with pre-marriage and post-marriage agreements, a separation agreement may not be applicable if one party is not fully disclosed or the other party is obliged to enter into the agreement. If and if the parties formally submit the divorce, the terms of the separation agreement may be included in a settlement agreement, but the parties have the option of amending the terms if necessary.

If you want to leave your marriage or life partnership, divorce/dissolution may appear as the only option. However, a separation agreement may offer a less durable solution that will allow you and your spouse/civil partner to live separately while remaining married. This gives you time and space to decide if a divorce/dissolution is what you really want. Marital partners may opt for legal separation for many reasons, not divorce. The Net Lawman agreement then covers certain clauses that make it flexible to change circumstances and fairly in the eyes of the law, and provides a space where the separation couple puts their signatures. If you are interested in a separation agreement, read our version here.