A separation agreement is a contract that settles the outstanding issues when a married couple decides to end the relationship. This contract is a often drafted by a family lawyer, or a divorce lawyer. However, in some situation parties to a separation decide to draft a separation agreement using a template. Many times, this is due to cost considerations or the amicable nature of the separation.

There are also two types of separation agreements in the family law context. The first is an interim agreement which is of a temporary nature and time frame. This type of contract can help the separating couple to come up with a temporary resolution to important issues while negotiating a final settlement. Yes, you guessed it – the second type of agreement is a final separation agreement.

An agreement of this type is an efficient tool that can be used to settle on all or most of the outstanding issues in a separation, including parenting plans for children, custody and access arrangements, child support, spousal support and property division. A separation agreement is not mandatory in order to file for divorce but it makes logical sense to resolve the outstanding issues before filing for a simple divorce.

If negotiations fail, the parties to a separation may use other avenues to help with a family law settlement. This can include family law mediation, collaborative family law, or other settlement focused processes.