Can spouses prepare their own separation agreement?


Technically, spouses can prepare their own separation agreement so long as it is legally binding. Practically speaking, however, only the most simplistic cases should be handled without a lawyer. Separation agreements used to be quite simple, but in recent years they have become highly complex.

The reason separation agreements have become more complex is that there has been lots of development regarding spousal rights, for both men and women. Child support has also become difficult for spouses to work through without the help of a lawyer. Even something that appears simple, such as determining what a spouse’s income is can be difficult to assess.

Even back when they were more straightforward, it was always recommended that spouses consult a lawyer. I always say to people that before deciding to embark on creating their own separation agreement to at least consult a lawyer to see whether it is realistic.

In my experience, in most cases it’s not. People will skip over steps or important items  are never dealt with quite simply because they didn’t know about them. For those reasons it’s often helpful to have a lawyer work with them to go over the details and ensure the agreement is done right.