Informal Separation Agreements: What You Need to Know

For couples who have decided to separate but are not ready for a divorce or legal separation, an informal separation agreement can be a solution. This agreement can help address important issues such as child custody, property division, and financial support without involving the courts.

What is an informal separation agreement?

Also known as a separation agreement, a separation agreement template is a legal document that outlines the terms and conditions that both parties have agreed upon to live separately while they are still legally married. Unlike a divorce, which requires court intervention, an informal separation agreement is a private agreement.

Why choose an informal separation agreement?

An informal separation agreement can offer many benefits to couples:

1. Cost-effective: An informal separation agreement typically costs less than a divorce or a legal separation since it does not require court intervention.

2. Flexibility: An informal separation agreement can be customized to the needs of both parties and can address specific issues that may not be addressed in a divorce or legal separation.

3. Privacy: An informal separation agreement is not a public record, unlike a divorce, which is filed and available in court records.

4. Avoiding confrontation: An informal separation agreement can help reduce stress and confrontation when dealing with sensitive issues such as child custody and financial support.

What does an informal separation agreement cover?

An informal separation agreement typically covers the following:

1. Child custody and visitation: The agreement can outline how the couple will share custody and visitation of their children, detailed arrangements for holidays, vacations, and other special events.

2. Property division: The couple can decide how their property, assets, and debts will be divided during the separation period.

3. Support: The parties can agree on spousal or child support. This can be a particularly sticky issue that requires care and attention to detail.

4. Insurance: The agreement can address health, dental, and life insurance, detailing who will be responsible for payments and coverage.

5. Taxes: The agreement can specify how the couple will file their taxes during the separation period.

It is essential to consult with an experienced family law attorney to ensure your agreement is comprehensive, binding, and meets all legal requirements.


An informal separation agreement can be a cost-effective and flexible solution for couples who are not ready for a divorce but want to separate. It is important to approach the agreement with care and attention to detail to ensure all issues are addressed. Consultation with an attorney can help ensure that the agreement meets legal requirements and protects the rights of both parties.