How far in advance can an SA be filed?


Newcomer-- thanks for an invaluable online resource-- these are pre-divorce questions for me

  1. How far in advance can an SA be drafted, signed, and filed (I can’t be sure spouse will remain so agreeable) prior to me moving out?
  2. What if I’m sued, forced to litigate, and can’t afford counsel? Are there low/no cost options
    (I wouldn’t represent myself in litigation unless there weren’t other options). If I have to declare bankruptcy, either before an SA or during/after divorce is final, is what I can afford to pay determined by the bankruptcy judge? If spouse frivolously/maliciously litigates (Motions, etc.)–and how difficult is this to prove–can I get my costs reimbursed (atty, court, and filing fees)? If an SA is signed, can I still be sued for divorce (exclusive of necessary Motions, Orders, etc.)
  3. Under what conditions can I be forced to move out, and when? If spouse mentions “unsafe Conditions” marital fault (or others, none of which are true), how difficult are these to substantiate?
  4. If I believe spouse might sell or divert marital property, should I get Injunctions? Are court appearances required for this (would spouse have to know)? If property is diverted, is it difficult to prove and/or undo, or do couples just consider the diverted property in ED?
  5. What sorts of legal forms can be drafted by spouse that affect my interests but don’t have to be signed by me , or be “public record”, i.e., Wills, Trusts, what else? Much thanks


Separation Agreements are contracts, and therefore they are not filed with the courts, however in certain situations where one party wishes to purchase real estate prior to the actual divorce a short form of the Agreement must be recorded with the Register of Deeds in the County where the land is situated.

As far as the timing of the execution, a Separation Agreement needs to be executed either after the parties are living separate and apart, or contemporaneously with the separation. Often folks will continue living together until an agreement is reached, and move out soon after the agreement is signed.

If you cannot afford counsel in a litigation case, you can represent your self. We do offer a DIY system that has forms, FAQs, and access to an attorney for a low monthly fee.

If one party abuses the litigation process there are ways to seek a reimbursement of your attorney’s fees spent on defending frivolous motions, and the court can also impose sanctions on the abusing party upon proper motion.

You cannot be forced to move out of the marital residence absent misconduct on your part. Your spouse will have to prove that you have engaged in misconduct beyond a greater weight of the evidence, ie it is more likely than not that you engaged in misconduct.

You can obtain an injunction in court, and your spouse will have to be served notice.

Your spouse can draft a new will, but cannot unilaterally dispose of marital property.