Separation Agreements

Separation Agreements

Separation AgreementsSeparation Agreements can be used by both married and unmarried couples to state their intentions if their relationship ends. If you are considering entering into a Separation Agreement, our expert family law solicitors can assist you in deciding what issues to include in your Separation Agreement and ensure it protects your interests and those of your family.

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What Is A Separation Agreement?

A Separation Agreement is a legal contract that allows a couple to set out their agreement about what should happen if they decide to end their relationship. Separation Agreements can be useful to married couples and civil partners who have separated but have yet to finalise their divorce or civil partnership dissolution. If you’re unmarried, you might use a Settlement Agreement to ensure your assets are divided fairly since the law does not protect unmarried couples in the same way it protects those who are married or in a civil partnership.

What Might You Include In A Separation Agreement?

A significant benefit of Separation Agreements is that they can be tailored to your individual circumstances. Examples of the types of issues couples commonly include in their Separation Agreements are as follows:

• Property

Property is often a couple’s most valuable asset. To ensure it is dealt with fairly if your relationship breaks down, you can use your Separation Agreement to specify your intentions in respect of property related issues such as the following:

o What should happen to the family home? For example, should one partner have the right to remain living there?
o How should any proceeds of sale be split after paying off any outstanding mortgage?
o What should happen to any property owned by one partner in their sole name?

• Children

The emotional turmoil brought about by separating from your partner can be intensified when children are involved. To avoid lengthy, hard-fought disputes over childcare arrangements following a split, you can use your Separation Agreement to detail matters such as the following:

o Where should your children live?
o Who should your children live with?
o How should your children divide their time between you and your ex-partner?
o Should one parent pay child maintenance to the other?

• Finances

Dealing with the resultant financial issues is often one of the most challenging aspects of a separation. You can use your Separation Agreement to disentangle your joint assets and record your decisions relating to your finances, including the following:

o How should any mutual debt be dealt with, such as loans and credit cards?
o How should funds held jointly, such as in bank accounts, and savings, be shared?
o Who should pay the rent or mortgage and any utility bills on any jointly owned property until you sell it?
o How should any school fees be split?
o Should one party pay maintenance to the other?
o How should pensions be dealt with?

When Might You Use A Separation Agreement?

A couple can enter into a Separation Agreement regardless of their marital status, but their reasons for doing so may differ.

• When Might You Use A Separation Agreement If You Are Married Or In A Civil Partnership?

If you are married or in a civil partnership, a Separation Agreement might be a good option for you in the following circumstances:

o You are considering a divorce or civil partnership dissolution but have not yet committed.
o You have agreed to separate but cannot legally obtain a divorce or civil partnership dissolution, for example, because you entered your marriage or civil partnership less than 12 months ago.
o Your separation is amicable, and you do not consider a formal divorce or civil partnership dissolution necessary.
o If you separate, you want to minimise the scope for lengthy and expensive legal disputes when emotions are running high.

• When Might You Use A Separation Agreement If You Are Unmarried?

The law classes unmarried couples as cohabitees and does not afford them the same protection as that enjoyed by spouses and civil partners. Accordingly, if you are unmarried, a Separation Agreement can provide the following key benefits:

o You can specify how your assets will be divided to ensure fairness regardless of the legal position.
o If you separate, you can state who can remain living in the home you share. This is particularly pertinent when one partner owns property in their sole name since, in the absence of an agreement, the non-owning partner may have to leave their home.
o You want to reduce the chance of hard-fought legal disputes if you separate.

Are Separation Agreements Legally Binding?

Separation Agreements are not legally binding in the same way as a Court Order is. However, if you separate from your partner, a Judge will consider the terms you previously agreed upon, and if the Agreement fulfils the relevant legal criteria, it’s likely to be enforced.

How Can We Help?

As specialist family law solicitors, our family team has extensive experience in all issues faced by couples.  They will guide you through every stage of your relationship. They always seek the quickest, most cost-effective, and least acrimonious route available to resolve an issue, seeking a fair and just outcome that is in your and your family’s best interests.

Please call us now on 01603 672222 for a no-obligation conversation today or Click Here To Make An Online Enquiry.

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