Do It Yourself Separation Agreements: How to Ensure They Are Legally Binding

In recent years, do-it-yourself (DIY) separation agreements have become increasingly popular for couples who are separating or divorcing. These agreements can be a cost-effective and efficient way to resolve issues related to property division, spousal support, and child custody without the need for expensive lawyers or court proceedings.

However, before diving into creating a DIY separation agreement, it’s essential to understand what makes these agreements legally binding. A separation agreement that is not legally binding may not hold up in court, leaving you vulnerable to financial and legal consequences.

Here are some key steps to ensure your DIY separation agreement is legally binding:

  1. Put it in writing: The first step to creating a legally binding separation agreement is to put it in writing. A verbal agreement is not enough to hold up in court, as there is no concrete evidence of what was agreed upon. It is best to draft a written agreement that outlines all the details related to the separation.
  2. Be specific: When drafting your separation agreement, be specific about the terms and conditions. This means including details about property division, spousal support, child custody, and any other issues related to your separation. By being specific, you can avoid confusion and misinterpretation down the line.
  3. Seek legal advice: While DIY separation agreements can be cost-effective, it is always a good idea to seek legal advice before finalizing the agreement. A lawyer can help you understand the legal implications of the terms and conditions of the agreement and ensure that it is legally binding.
  4. Include a review period: It is common for DIY separation agreements to have a review period, where both parties can review and make changes to the agreement. Including a review period ensures that both parties have had a chance to thoroughly review the agreement and make any necessary changes before signing.
  5. Sign and notarize: Once the agreement is finalized, both parties must sign the agreement. It is also a good idea to have the agreement notarized, which adds an extra layer of legality to the agreement. Notarization ensures that both parties are who they say they are and that they signed the agreement voluntarily.

In conclusion, creating a DIY separation agreement can be a cost-effective and efficient way to resolve issues related to property division, spousal support, and child custody. However, it is crucial to ensure that the agreement is legally binding to avoid any legal or financial consequences down the line. By following these key steps, you can create a separation agreement that is legally binding and provides a clear roadmap for your future.