Refusal to sign separation agreement


I am planning on separating from my husband in the near future…however, he does NOT want our relationship to end. To make matters worse, he has been dependent on me financially for our entire marriage (five years). He will be finishing a second bachelor’s degree in December, but our current apartment lease is not up until next June. I am either going to leave next January or next March, so that I can time the move with one of my vacations (I’m a teacher). Also, that way he’ll hopefully be more able to take care of himself. It sounds like it is better to have a separation agreement in place before moving. But, I am very worried that my husband will refuse to sign any agreement, even if it is generous, because he will do anything to hang on to the relationship. What do I do if he refuses to sign an agreement? I know that I will have to be the one to move out to begin the one year separation, so should I just move out without an agreement? Given the time line I have set up for when to leave, when should I hire an attorney? We have few assets, relatively speaking, and no children. Thank you very much for your advice (and thanks for the previous answer to my retirement accounts question).

Also, one last quick question: is it possible for me to change my name back to my maiden name before we are actually divorced? I would like to do it before I start a new school year so that my new students start the year calling me by my maiden name. I want to have it legal so that everything is in my maiden name and there is no confusion. Can I just go through the court even without a divorce certificate? Thanks.


I have no advice but wanted to say I could’ve written your post! Mine is now refusing to sign the agreement bc he wants to hold onto the relationship, so it is a very real scenario. Good luck!


Thanks, whyme, for the response. It is good to know that I am not alone. Good luck to you, too!


If your husband refuses to sign a separation agreement and there is marital property to divide you will have to file suit for equitable distribution. The court will divide the property and he cannot refuse to cooperate.
You may move out without an agreement in place, but may find yourself paying the rent/utilities if they are in your name in order to maintain credit worthiness.
You should hire an attorney a few months before you are sure you are ready to proceed with the separation.
As your name change, you may change your name prior to divorce, but the process is much more time consuming and complex. If you wait until the divorce, its relatively simple.