Separation Agreements

We understand that when relationships break down you may not always want to get divorced straightaway or if you are cohabiting you may want to formalise your separation.

For married couples there can be a number of reasons, you may not agree with divorce for religious reasons, you have not been married for more than 12 months or you would prefer to wait 2 years and not cite behaviour in order to issue divorce proceedings on the grounds of two years separation with the other’s consent. You may think it is too soon to make a final decision about your relationship breakdown and want to set out an arrangement in the meantime, until you or your partner decide that you both want to proceed with a divorce.

Whatever your reasons, our expert family solicitors can help you make decisions best for you and set out what should happen when divorce proceedings are issued.

Separation Agreement does not only set out financial responsibilities, it can also include what arrangements have been agreed for you both to spend time with your children.

However, although a separation agreement is persuasive to a court, the agreement is not binding on the court if there have been substantial changes to your circumstances when you finally issue the divorce proceedings and ones the court cannot ignore such as change in personal or financial circumstances. .

In addition separation agreements cannot make provision for a pension sharing order. So if you are close to pension age, a separation agreement may not be suitable depending on your personal circumstances.

In order for a separation agreement to be persuasive to a court on divorce, the agreement must fulfill certain criteria:

  1. Both parties must have obtained legal advice at the time of preparing the agreement; and

  2. Both parties must have disclosed to one another a full account of their financial positions (known and full and frank financial disclosure).

  3. There must have been no duress or undue influence

  4. The agreement must be fair

      If you are not married, you can also enter into a separation agreement which sets out your obligations financially to one another or to children of the family. If you own a joint property, you may have decided to sell the property and what you decide about what will happen to the net proceeds of sale can be included within an agreement. If you have decided to retain the jointly owned property and one of you is to continue to live in the property, possibly to provide a home for the children, then a separation agreement or deed can set out who is responsible for paying the mortgage, insurance and outgoings and who is responsible for general and structural repairs. The agreement can also on separation set out the arrangements for the children and their financial support.

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