What is a Legal Separation Agreement?

A legal separation agreement is a contract between married couples often used to determine property division. It may also cover issues of child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, division of debt and other matters that married parties living apart need addressed. It should be noted, however, that final provisions for children fall exclusively under the jurisdiction of the family courts, and it retains the right to ensure proper support for minor children.

A separation agreement may be necessary when one party to a marriage elects to move out of the marital home and establish a household elsewhere. In this case, the agreement should provide guidelines for obligations, rights, and responsibilities during the separation.

Converting a Separation Agreement into a Divorce

Simply living apart is not a legal separation. If a couple lives apart but does not enter a separation agreement, assets and debts accumulated during this time may be considered marital assets subject to future division by a court.

If you have a legal a separation agreement, you may later elect to convert it to a divorce, for which the previous agreement may be used as the foundation. There is no longer a waiting period to do so and the agreement may be converted to a no-fault divorce at any time.

Separation Agreements and Reconciliation

Separation agreements can also be useful when a couple decides they need time to repair their marriage. The agreement in this scenario might allow for support, responsibilities for bill payments, and other financial considerations during the time apart. Meanwhile, the pressure of an imminent divorce is reduced, which may give the couple the time they need to resolve their differences.



Like other types of marital agreements, separation agreements must meet certain criteria in order to be enforceable. A valid separation agreement must be in writing, signed by the parties freely and voluntarily, and duly acknowledged and notarized. In addition, the agreement should be fair to both spouses and allow for asset division and consideration of support. All the prerequisite conditions are something with which a qualified separation agreements attorney in Rochester could help.

Consult with a Rochester Separation Agreement Attorney Today

Sometimes a legal separation could be a path to reconciliation, while other times it may be a precursor to divorce. Either way, separation agreements can be helpful to couples who are experiencing marital discord.

Whether you expect to reconcile or divorce, a consultation with Tully Rinckey PLLC’s legal team may be beneficial. Since separation agreements require specific knowledge of the law to be enforceable, seek the advice of an experienced Rochester separation agreement lawyer from our firm. Get in touch today to get started on your case—we are available by phone at 8885294543 or by email at info@tullylegal.com.

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