Separation agreements
Victoria Hope

Separation Agreements

It is possible to live apart without divorcing or dissolving your civil partnership, but still address the financial consequences of the breakdown of your relationship.

You may wish to enter into a separation agreement for a number of reasons, such as:

  • if you have a religious belief against divorce
  • you have been married for less than a year
  • you wish to wait until you have been separated for more than two years to initiate divorce proceedings

You will need to think about how any joint assets are to be divided, what will happen in the event that there are divorce proceedings in the future and, of course, if there are any children, you will need to come to arrangements regarding with whom they shall live and what arrangements will be put in place for the non-resident parent.

What is a separation agreement?

It is possible to live apart without divorcing or dissolving your civil partnership, but still address the financial consequences of the breakdown of your relationship.

You may wish to enter into a separation agreement for a number of reasons, such as:

  • if you have a religious belief against divorce;
  • you have been married for less than a year; and/or
  • you wish to wait until you have been separated for more than two years to initiate divorce proceedings.

You will need to think about how any joint assets are to be divided, what will happen in the event that there are divorce proceedings in the future and, of course, if there are any children, you will need to come to arrangements regarding with whom they shall live and what arrangements will be put in place for the non-resident parent. This may be regulated by way of a Separation Agreement. A separation agreement is effectively a contract between the parties dealing with their obligations to each other.  It could deal with the distribution of their assets and liabilities and could also record the arrangements in respect of any children, if necessary.

Is a separation agreement legally binding?

A Separation Agreement cannot oust the jurisdiction of the court and there is thus a risk that the provisions of a separation agreement could ultimately be overturned by the court if they were deemed to be unfair. Therefore, the court has the power to vary the terms of a separation agreement. However, if certain requirements are met and it can be proven that the agreement provides a fair outcome in the circumstances of the case, having regard to the parties’ personal and financial circumstances, then a court will be slow to overturn such an agreement.

How can we help?

We can ensure that you are provided with comprehensive advice as to the options available to you and that any separation agreement is carefully drafted and adequately protects your position.

We can also explain some of the key issues and decisions you will have to make during the process so that you have time to consider them.

The next steps

If you are considering separating or if your spouse has indicated that they wish to separate, it is important that you speak to someone as soon as possible.

Contact one of our Family team for an appointment. They will listen to your concerns, explain how they can help and the options that are available to you.

 

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