Legal separation forms are used by couples who want to settle any legal issues they have, such as child custody or the division of marital property, when they officially establish separate residences. These individuals are usually not yet ready to obtain a divorce. Many times, free legal separation forms are available online or at your local county clerk of court's office.
Online Resources for Legal Separation Forms
Several websites offer pre-typed and formatted legal separation forms. Many times, you can download and print these forms directly from the website. Sites offering free legal forms include:
- Find Forms: this website offers both free and priced legal separation forms. Currently, it's free legal separation forms are only available for specific states. If you live in one of these states, you can select the form you want, print it, and complete it before submitting it to the court.
- All Law: a leader in legal forms, All Law's legal separation agreement must be copied and pasted into a document on your computer. From that point, however, you can complete and submit it to your local court.
Note, however, that there is no guarantee that these forms meet the requirements to file for legal separation in your state. Many states require that you include specific information on your forms to qualify for the court's granting a legal separation. Ensure that any form you obtain online meets these requirements by comparing it with any instructions provided by the clerk of court for filing for separation.
General Contents of a Separation Form
Although each state independently establishes the contents of a legal separation form filed in its courts, there are some items which are commonly required. In any legal separation form, you must usually include:
- Your and your spouse's name
- The marital home of residence
- The new address of the spouses, if available
- Whether there are any children born of the marriage
- What child support and alimony arrangements have been agreed to between the parties
- The date the separation is to begin
- The division of marital property affected by the separation
A form lacking any of this information may be returned by the court for revision. The filing party can then resubmit the revised form for the court's consideration.
When to Seek Legal Assistance
If you are able to establish the specifics of your legal separation amicably with your spouse, you may not require legal assistance when completing a form and filing for court approval. If, however, you are unable to agree on the terms of the separation, consider seeking legal advice. A lawyer will review your finances and the circumstances of the case and draft a separation form on your behalf to file with the court.