A Guide On Separation Agreements

A separation agreement is a document that details the terms of separation for an unmarried or de facto couple. Married people that wish to separate but remain married can use a separation agreement to end their union. A couple that does not meet the minimum divorce requirements can also draft a separation agreement before they can apply for divorce. 

Read the excerpt below to learn more about separation agreements. 

Elements of a Separation Agreement

The separation agreement contains the following: 

Joint Property

The agreement needs to specify shared and individual assets. For example, inheritance and property from a previous marriage could be defined as personal assets. However, they could be included as joint assets if one partner invested in the asset, such as in a case where one partner invested in rehabilitating inherited property. Determine a suitable method of repaying joint loans such as mortgages and car loans.

Property Division

The separation agreement should detail how you will divide your assets. For instance, you could pay your spouse to keep the family home. Alternatively, you could forfeit joint assets such as family cars or investment shares in exchange for the family home. Couples that cannot agree often opt to sell their assets and share the proceeds. 


If you have kids, you must indicate how you will raise them. For instance, how much will each party contribute to the children's upkeep? Where will the children stay? How will you make decisions regarding the children's education and career choices? Do third parties such as grandparents and close relatives have visiting rights? 


Unemployed and disabled partners may need some support before they get back on their feet. Your lawyers will evaluate the income of the breadwinner and his or her personal and family contributions to determine a reasonable amount to be paid as alimony. In some cases, you could opt to pay a lump sum or forfeit some of the divided property instead of paying alimony. 


As a rule, separation agreements should be drafted by licensed and experienced family lawyers. The separation agreement must meet the following requirements: 

  • It should not have contradictory statements.
  • The agreement should not contradict previous contracts such as prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.
  • Both parties should receive independent legal advice before signing the agreement.
  • Parties should not coerce each other into signing the contract. 

The separation agreement should have an amendment clause that allows both parties to amend the contract to suit changing circumstances. 

A separation contract will ensure an easy time separating or divorcing your partner. Working with a family lawyer guarantees that the document is legally binding.