What is a Separation Agreement?
This is for married and unmarried couples who intend to separate and want a legal document drawn up to confirm arrangements for their finances. Entering into a Separation Agreement can avoid quarrels over household bills, possessions, how best to deal with joint assets and how best to help any children involved.
Reaching an agreement
A separation agreement is also known as a Deed of Separation. It records from the start who is to have what and what the parties’ responsibilities are. It can also help avoid the need for court proceedings at a later stage.
How do we agree the terms?
The terms of a separation agreement may be agreed:
- Directly between you
- At mediation
- By negotiation between solicitors
When preparing to draft the separation agreement, each party must:
- Produce full and frank financial disclosure to the other party, showing documentary evidence of their income, assets and liabilities;
- Seek independent legal advice upon the terms of the Separation Agreement
- Sign the Separation Agreement
What is involved in a Separation Agreement?
On receipt of instructions from a client wishing for a separation agreement, we will draft a formal agreement.
The separation agreement includes such information as:
- Age, employment and accommodation
- Details about you and your partner, eg. where you intend to live
- How you intend to split your monies and who will have control of the sale of any property
- Who will pay for what
- Arrangements for any children
- A schedule of both parties' respective income, assets and pension provision
Is a Separation Agreement legally binding?
An agreement of this kind is not a court order and the court is not involved in its preparation. For this reason, the terms of a separation agreement are not strictly speaking legally binding.
However, the courts are becoming far more willing to consider the terms of a separation agreement when it comes to divorce proceedings later on. Generally speaking the court is likely to follow the Separation Agreement, if it was entered into by both parties:
- With the benefit of legal advice;
- After the exchange of full and frank financial disclosure; and
- There has been no significant change of circumstances, which would render the agreement unfair.
The time it takes to finalise financial affairs at the end of a marriage can be significantly reduced when a separation agreement has previously been drawn up.
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