Massachusetts Separation Agreement Template

Man signing separation agreement in MA

A Separation Agreement is a legal contract between spouses planning to end their marriage. It is a part of the divorce document kit when partners apply for 1A marriage dissolution in Massachusetts, meaning they are co-petitioners.

If you are working on your divorce documents and looking for a Separation Agreement in Massachusetts, example to guide you is provided below. We have prepared the sample document in two formats for your convenience:

What Is a Separation Agreement in Massachusetts?

MA separation form prepared for signature
Obtaining a legal separation agreement in Massachusetts is not mandatory, but it can provide clarity and speed up your divorce proceedings.

A Massachusetts Separation Agreement is a binding contract between spouses who no longer want to live together as a married couple. Judging by the document name, one may think it is related to the separation process. However, unlike in some other states, there is no legal separation in MA, so a Separation Agreement has nothing to do with living apart; it is a document prepared in divorce cases. It is usually included in the package of forms for an uncontested no-fault divorce, also classified as the 1A divorce.

A Separation Agreement reflects the specifics of each case. Though you can use a pre-made template, you will need to customize it to show your family situation and the agreements you reached with your spouse. The document usually covers but is not limited to such aspects as:

  • Division of marital property. Spouses should specify how the joint assets and debts will be divided. The decisions may refer to splitting real estate, bank accounts, investments, and other shared property.
  • Child custody and support. If spouses have children, they must define who will have legal and physical custody, how visitation will be organized, what the amount of child support will be, how the payments will be made, and other details.
  • Alimony. The parties can define the sum and duration of alimony if one spouse is financially dependent on the other. It is also recommended to list the events that can automatically terminate alimony, e.g., remarriage of the supported partner, if the supported spouse gets a job and their gross income reaches a specific level, etc.

In general, the more detailed the Separation Agreement is, the fewer potential disputes spouses may have when dissolving their marriage. During the hearing, the judge will review the Separation Agreement and will approve it only if it’s fair and reasonable and does not contain mistakes. Therefore, like with other divorce forms, attentiveness and thoughtfulness are extremely important when you fill in the data.

How to Fill in Separation Agreement Form?

A woman fills out documents to submit an application for separation in MA
Completing a separation agreement in Massachusetts can be challenging due to its legal complexities.

Divorce is the only legal way to end a marital relationship in the state, and filing for legal separation in MA isn’t possible. For this reason, the form name “Separation Agreement” may confuse some spouses by its name. However, it means practically the same as a Marital Settlement Agreement in other states and is needed in Massachusetts when filing for an uncontested, no-fault divorce. Follow the tips below on how to prepare the Separation Agreement.

  1. Get the form. You can look for a simple Separation Agreement form on the court’s website, address a lawyer for help, or order it from a credible service that deals with document preparation.
  2. Read the instructions to understand the content. Take your time to read the guidelines. You need to figure out how to complete each section and ensure you include all the necessary information related to property and debt division, child custody and support, and other case-particular details. Be attentive at this stage as your decisions may have far-reaching consequences.
  3. Fill out the sections. Complete the document attentively. Double-check that the terms are fair and reasonable. Both spouses should review the paper and mutually consent to the terms before adding signatures.
  4. Sign and notarize the form. The parties must sign the Separation Agreement form in the presence of a notary public.

Even if you are on amicable terms with your spouse about marriage dissolution, you may still want to consult a lawyer to be 100% sure your decisions are legal and equitable. An attorney can give you legal advice on a particular matter and help complete a Separation Agreement for an additional fee.  

Once your agreement is ready, you need to file it and other divorce papers with the local Probate and Family Court. The judge will review it and will likely include the agreed-upon decisions in the divorce judgment. However, it may happen that the court doesn’t approve the agreement because it’s unfair, unreasonable, or the product of fraud and coercion. In this case, it may become invalid, and all divorce issues will be decided in court.  

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