FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Legal Separation Form

Justice Family Lawyers Sydney

A legal separation form, also known as a marriage separation agreement, is a legally binding document used in the United States of America.

Some couples choose to become legally separated before obtaining a divorce. Some may get back together or decide not to remain legally separated indefinitely for various reasons.

In the USA, a legal separation agreement outlines the arrangements two spouses have agreed upon for their assets, property, finances and the parenting and custody of their children for the period of separation. Legal separation is not available in every US state. The American family law system is different from family law in Australia.

Legal separation does not exist in Australia, however, a one-year period of separation is necessary before filing for divorce. The two options most similar to a legal separation agreement in Australia are consent orders and binding financial agreements. These two legally binding documents – the former being a court order, the latter a contract – similarly outline agreements that two separated spouses have come to. Consent orders can be about parenting or finances or both, and both de facto and married couples can apply for them at a Family Court registry.

There is a time limit within which couples can apply for consent orders. From the date of separation, de facto couples have two years in which they are able to apply for consent orders. Married couples have up until one year after the finalisation of their divorce. Consent orders do not involve court hearings.

A binding financial agreement can be made at any time before, during or after marriage or a de facto relationship. It is a written, legal agreement between spouses that sets out the financial arrangements should the relationship end.

If two spouses come to an agreement about how their property and finances should be divided and managed, a binding financial agreement formalises this. Both parties must obtain independent legal advice before signing.

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