Dear Attorney Williams:

My wife and I have separated on and off for about five years. We’ve had several separation agreements drawn up. Since our last agreement was made, she’s accumulated some assets and so have I. I’m financially worth more than she is right now.

I’m finally starting to realize our marriage isn’t going to work. Would our separation agreement reflect what we’ll get in a divorce? I need to know because I’m planning to file for a divorce soon.—Reader


Dear Reader:

A separation agreement is made between spouses to resolve issues such as spousal and child support, visitation rights of parents, insurance coverage, property and debt division and so forth. Generally, spouses who are contemplating getting a divorce or who may just need a break from each other enter into separation agreements. These types of agreements could last for months or possibly years, as your agreements have. They terminate when a couple divorces or if they rekindle their relationship.

These agreements are generally not iron clad as a signed order from the court would be in a divorce. However, many of the same issues that were negotiated in the separation agreement could be used by both spouses to negotiate and settle matters during their divorce. Since you and your spouse have accumulated other assets, those assets would need to be addressed during the divorce proceedings, even if they were not discussed and put into the separation agreement. They would more likely be considered marital assets because they were accumulated during the marriage. Discuss these issues and more with an attorney who handles divorces to learn your rights.

If you have a legal issue on your mind, write me at or PO Box 7231, Tallahassee, Florida 32314.