Separation Advice and Agreements

If your relationship breaks down, you and your partner, spouse or civil partner may agree to formerly separate rather than petitioning for divorce. There are several reasons for this, for instance:

  • You were not married or in a civil partnership, but were co-habiting.
  • You are married/in a civil partnership but do not wish to divorce for personal or religious reasons.
  • You are married/in a civil partnership and wish to divorce, but want to wait for two years so you do not have to cite any of the adversarial reasons for divorce.

If any of these are the case and you and your partner both agree to the separation, you can seek legal advice and draw up a Separation Agreement – also known as a Deed of Separation – to negotiate a financial settlement and fairly divide property and assets. The sympathetic, understanding team of divorce and family law solicitors at Forbes have a vast degree of expertise in this area and can help you through this emotionally challenging time. They will help you and your partner to agree to a Deed of Separation that will ensure you a period of financial stability and certainty, easing an otherwise upsetting period for you both.

What is a Separation Agreement?

With a Separation Agreement, you will legally remain married or civil partners (and so will not be able to re-marry or enter into another civil partnership without obtaining a divorce or dissolution) and you must understand that it is a voluntary arrangement for both parties involved. If you wish to force a split of assets or one partner does not agree then you must petition for divorce if you are married. If you are not married you can only enter into a Separation Agreement if you both agree to the terms.

The Deed of Separation will set out financial agreements, ownership of property and possessions as well as arrangements for childcare and custody where there are children involved. It also establishes a 'point of separation' for any future divorce petition where separation is the reason cited. This can be backdated to a point agreed by both partners, provided this date can be proven if necessary. If you are waiting for two years to divorce, this gives you a date to base this two year period on.

Divorce after a Separation Agreement

If you do decide to divorce in the future, the court may take your Separation Agreement into account when deciding how assets should be split and finances settled. As the Agreement sets out who owned what property and possessions at the time of separation, it can be used to persuade the court to order your partner to account for anything they appear to have disposed of. However, it should also be noted that the court may choose to completely disregard the Separation Agreement and draw up new terms.

Often when couples separate, it can be the case that neither has specific grounds for commencing divorce proceedings, or the couple were not married in the first place and so don't have redress to the divorce law.

Some people just grow apart and whilst it is not the fault of either party, arrangements still need to be put in place to ensure certainty for the children, family home and other finances.

A separation agreement can be prepared with your divorce lawyer's assistance, that each of you can agree on to ensure the minimum upset and distress.

If you and your partner, spouse or civil partner are separating, you can call our specialist team of divorce solicitors on 0800 689 1058. They will treat your case sympathetically and will aim to relieve some of the stress you are going through. Alternatively, you can complete our online enquiry form and we will get in touch with you.

13 Mar 2019



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