Separation Agreements

Sympathetic legal advice

For mutual separations

Not all married couples who separate wish to divorce. In certain circumstances a less formal separation may be the preferred option; here, a Separation Agreement is used to set out in clear terms how a couple intends to manage their circumstances on separation. This details how the parties will manage such matters as:

  • The family home
  • Pensions
  • Accounts and investments
  • Personal belongings
  • Arrangements for the children
  • The parties' preferences as to the grounds for divorce

 

Separation Agreements are generally used if you've been married or in a civil partnership and have stopped living together but don't want to legally end the relationship, or you've been living together without being married or in a civil partnership and have split up.

Although, like pre-nuptial agreements, they are not currently legally binding, they do offer clear evidence of the parties' intentions and, should subsequent Court proceedings commence, although the Court is not bound to follow the agreement, it will be considered as one of the circumstances of the case. It provides suitable evidence of what you intended upon the breakdown of the marriage. Most financial applications within marriage are settled by consent. If the separation agreement reflects a fair division of assets and the arrangements for the children are satisfactory, then the Court will be more likely to endorse the agreement.

If the parties still agree the Separation Agreement terms when divorce proceedings begin, an Order can be drawn up in those original terms, making those terms legally binding and enforceable.

Generally, with separation agreements as well as during divorce negotiations, full and frank disclosure of assets should be provided and each party should be given the opportunity of receiving independent legal advice.