What is a Separation Agreement?
Separation Agreements can be used to record and formalise the terms of separation.
In certain situations couples are not ready to divorce each other, or may have religious reasons for not wishing to terminate their marriage. In this instance a separation agreement can be used to record and formalise the terms of the separation.
A separation agreement provides individuals with the proper legal backing so that if a circumstance arises in which one of the parties involved doesn’t adhere to the agreement then it can be legally addressed. This is where our family law team can assist you.
Advantages of a Separation Agreement:
There is flexibility for the couple to agree whatever terms they choose;
A Separation Agreement is a good way for a couple to resolve issues arising from the breakdown in their relationship in a consensual way, thereby avoiding the need to go to court; and
Separation Agreements tend to be more cost effective to prepare than resolving matters through the courts.
It is advisable that a Separation Agreement is drafted by a solicitor experienced in family law. It is also advisable for the couple to be separately legally represented, and that each disclose their financial documentation to each other in a full and frank manner.
Often couples enter into a Separation Agreement with a view to one of them subsequently issuing divorce proceedings based upon two years separation, on the basis that the other will agree to provide his or her consent. A subsequent financial order would then be made upon the divorce which would either duplicate the terms of the earlier Separation Agreement, or would set out new financial arrangements.
Disadvantages of a Separation Agreement:
The terms of the Separation Agreement must be agreed. If terms are not agreed, the option is not available;
It is not a once and for all settlement. It is not possible within a Separation Agreement to exclude the court’s right to look at the assets of the marriage and circumstances which exist at the time of the divorce;
It is difficult to enforce breaches of a Separation Agreement as you will need to rely upon remedies available in contract law; and
Upon subsequent divorce proceedings, it will still be necessary to obtain a financial order. There will therefore be an element of double expenditure involved in financing the cost of the Separation Agreement, and then the subsequent divorce proceedings and financial order.
How does a Separation Agreement work?
When the initial terms have been declared for the separation agreement these terms must be agreed either directly between the parties involved, the solicitors involved or by a mediation process.
It is important to note that the financials of each party must be fully disclosed with the sufficient evidence to prove the legitimacy of claim. It is highly recommended that this is done with complete honesty as it can cause legal repercussions if not.
The difference between Separation Agreements and Divorce:
With a divorce the marriage is legally ended and certain assets such as property or finances are legally divided between the two parties in question. Separation agreements offer a different legal conclusion to a divorce. With separation agreements the parties in question are still legally married however the agreement allows certain responsibilities to be split and agreed upon but with legal foundations as opposed to an informal agreement.
How We Can Help
A member of our specialist team will be happy to help.
To discuss Separation Agreement Solicitors issues, please either use the contact form on the right, email us at email@example.com or call us today on +44(0)161 941 4000 to speak to a member of our team.