A Separation Agreement is a good way of sorting out your finances if you are either unmarried partners or wish to agree what will happen with your finances before getting a divorce. This might be a good option for you if you and your partner have not yet decided if you want a divorce, or if you simply can’t get a divorce right now.
The last year has been difficult for many couples, with the effects of the pandemic being felt by lots of people. But divorce can seem very final and it’s not a bad thing to consider your options before making such a big decision.
The Coronavirus pandemic may also have had a huge financial impact, so you may not be able to afford the legal fees associated with a divorce and to divide your matrimonial finances at the moment. A Separation Agreement can be a much cheaper and can be less permanent option.
Our Divorce Solicitors are experienced and understanding. We have been working throughout the pandemic and can help you and your former partner come to a financial agreement. We’ll get to know you and your situation and tailor our advice to your needs.
What Should I Include in a Separation Agreement?
A Separation Agreement is a legal document that usually sets out your financial arrangements. You can include things like:
- If one of you will need to pay maintenance to the other or for your children
- Where your children will live/who they will live with
- What will happen to your family home - including who will pay the mortgage or rent, bills, and who will live there if you decide not to sell it
- Who gets large belongings such as the cars, pets etc.
- What will happen to any joint bank accounts or savings, as well as debts and overdrafts
You might want to include other things too, depending on your circumstances.
Your Separation Agreement should ideally set out any financial arrangements that you would put in place if you were getting a divorce.
It’s important to know that if you get a divorce later on, a Separation Agreement doesn’t prevent an application for financial remedy being made. The Court will look at your financial situation as it is at the time of your divorce application and if there has been a change of circumstances, the Separation Agreement may no longer be used.
If there hasn’t been any significant change and the Separation Agreement has been entered into correctly, the Court will be more than likely to uphold the agreement.
But if your arrangements still seem fair and reasonable for both of you when you divorce, a Divorce Solicitor can help you turn the terms of your Separation Agreement into a Consent Order. A Consent Order is a type of Financial Order that is legally binding.
How Long Does a Separation Agreement Last?
Separation Agreements can last as long as you need them to if you and your partner stay separated.
Many couples use a Separation Agreement where they haven’t been married for longer than a year, as you can’t get a divorce if this is the case.
Some people don’t want to use one of the fault-based Grounds for Divorce and so enter into a Separation Agreement for a period of 2 years, so they can issue divorce proceedings on the ground of ‘2 Years Separation with Consent’ when the time comes.
But your Separation Agreement can last as long as you need it to.
How Much is a Separation Agreement?
You can draw up a Separation Agreement yourself, but you may need to pay for any legal help you get. This will depend on how much help you need and who you ask.
It’s important to remember that expert legal advice and getting your Separation Agreement drawn up by a Solicitor could be priceless. This is because a Separation Agreement is a very important document so you want to make sure you get it right.
And while it isn’t legally binding, it would be harder to justify breaking the terms of your Separation Agreement in Court if you had a Solicitor draw your agreements up as a legal document when you made it.