A separation agreement is a detailed contract, prepared by attorneys, where the parties agree to live separate and apart. It should set forth the respective rights and duties of husband and wife with respect to the custody and access to children, support payments, distribution of property, and all other matters pertaining to the marital relationship.
Certain vital formalities must be followed carefully or the written separation agreement will not qualify as a ground for divorce. Here, the skill and experience of the attorneys are vital to ensure the parties reach an agreement which is fair, just, and reasonable.
After both parties properly execute the separation agreement, the agreement is filed (with complete confidentiality) with the clerk of the county where either spouse lives. At the end of one year from the date of the agreement, either spouse may file and serve a summons against the other for a “no-fault” divorce.
In order to obtain a divorce, the filing party must demonstrate to the Court that the agreement was duly executed and acknowledged; was properly filed; the spouses have lived apart during the period of the agreement up to the time of the divorce action; and that the filing party or plaintiff has substantially complied with the terms of the separation agreement.