Separation Agreements

A separation agreement is a written agreement that you and your spouse voluntarily sign, without involving the court. A separation agreement gives you the opportunity to work out problems, slowly and over time, without the pressure of a divorce action hanging over your head. Once a divorce action is begun and placed on the court calendar, you and your spouse will have to attend court conferences and meet specific deadlines. That pressure is avoided by both of you signing a separation agreement.

Preparing Separation and Settlement Agreements in New York

Separation Agreements are an important part of the divorce process in New York. They are sometimes referred to as “property settlement agreements” or “marital settlement agreements”. To be considered legally sufficient under New York law, a separation agreement must address all issues between the parties, including:

  • Property and asset division
  • Child custody & visitation, including a detailed parenting plan
  • Child support
  • Spousal support (or “alimony”)
  • Continuation of health insurance


A separation agreement may be a wise choice for married couples considering a legal separation. It permits the parties to establish separate lives by dividing their debts and assets and allowing them to live apart. A separation agreement also allows couples to create and implement parenting arrangements for cases involving child custody and support without going through the process of divorce.

In cases of divorce where both parties wish to cooperate and avoid court litigation, working towards a settlement agreement may be advisable. Your settlement agreement should address all major issues in a divorce, including matters of child custody, visitation, child support, maintenance, and equitable distribution of assets.

As your family law attorney Lisa Zeiderman can help you negotiate a fair and comprehensive settlement agreement to save you time and money that would otherwise have been spent in litigation.