Separation agreements are legal documents a couple reaches once they start living separately. It is used to track the division of financial assets and any reached arrangements regarding children. This can provide you with more certainty about what comes next, and help you secure your financial wellbeing.
Additionally, the agreement will help you in any unforeseen disagreements and protect your assets if you decide to get a divorce or dissolve your civil partnership.
The agreement can cover matters in:
Property – decisions on how the property will be divided; how is the money separated once it’s sold; how to split up other assets
Children – living arrangements of the children
Finance – arranging responsibilities for any ongoing payments, like bills or mortgages.
How do know when you need a Separation Agreement
The best course of action for any couple getting separated Is to reach a separation agreement. This provides a written record of what has been agreed upon, regarding finances and children.
Without the agreement, a financial claim can be made on assets owned only by you before the marriage, any gifts or inheritance you have received, and assets you acquired after separating.
It acts as a safety net, if you eventually want to get divorced, a separation agreement protects you from certain unforeseen disputes that can arise during the divorce proceedings.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Is separation agreement legally binding?
Depends on how the separation agreement was reached. Most of the time it is not legally binding, but if it was drafted by qualified solicitors, it is considered a legal contract. Considering that it can be a contract, in that case it is challengeable in court.
How do I make my separation agreement legally binding?
Firstly, you should agree on the terms of the separation agreement with your partner, or if it becomes a more complex situation, involving business assets and children, you should seek advice from a solicitor. Secondly, after the terms of the agreement have been reached, solicitors can draft up a document and you can sign it in front of witnesses. Moreover, during the court proceedings, your solicitor can file for a consent order to mirror the existing terms in the separation agreement. If court finds it fair, it will become legally binding.
Does a separation agreement have to be filed anywhere?
Short answer is no. Although, you can request your solicitor to apply and turn it into a consent order. This allows couples to sign a separation agreement before the court proceedings begin and terms can transfer over to the final divorce settlement.
When might the court not uphold a separation agreement?
If one of the parties agreed to it with no legal representation; if circumstances of one of the parties have changed significantly; if either party were not honest about their assets and avoided disclosing their actual financial situation.
What conditions have to be met for the separation agreement to be taken seriously by the court?
The separation agreement must be drafted by a legal expert and voluntarily agreed on by both parties, with access to legal advice. During the court proceedings, the court will look at certain conditions to determine if they can uphold the agreement. The criteria covers whether both parties had access to legal representation; the circumstances are similar to when the agreement was reached; all the financial assets were fully disclosed.