Divorce, for married couples can be costly and time consuming. Undefended divorce petitions can easily still take 6 months to finalise. If agreement can be made over separation, then court intervention where a judge would be required to decide, is unnecessary. In these cases a Separation Agreement may be a preferred solution to couples who have decided to no longer live together.
It certainly may be considered an interim measure, particularly if there is no intention to re-marry. It is possible to be separated within the eyes of the law and reside in the same property. This is as long as you are not actually living together, such as eating or sleeping together. It may be used as a means of satisfying divorce eligibility at a later date, as 2 years of separation is one of the stipulations.
For unmarried couples who have decided to no longer cohabitate, a Separation Agreement may be considered to be in both parties interests in protecting their futures.
We are able to draft a bespoke, tailor made agreement that can cater for all and any specific concerns either party may have. This is particularly important where children are involved. An agreement can make provisions for their welfare and support.
Provisions can be made to determine where the children will reside. How each parent will be able to spend time with their children during the week and throughout the year. Such as contact at weekends or other times, what happens during school holidays or Christmas.
Financial provisions can be made for child support. Agreement may be reached to decide each parent’s contribution as a proportion of their income and time spent with them. Help can be provided by the Child Support agency guidelines.
Parental responsibility can be shared equally in consideration of a child’s welfare such as what school they attend and what after school actives they participate in.
It is important to determine how financial assets such as property are distributed in favour of the new arrangement in the best interests of the children. Also how income is allocated to cover living expenses, mortgage payments and household running costs. Provisions can be made as to how any debt is to be shared.
Full financial disclosure from both parties is important to be recorded at the date of separation and is normally attached in the appendices to the agreement.
This will include all separate property, bank accounts, investments, policies, personal chatels, motor vehicles, as well as any assets that are jointly owned.
It should also enclose all levels of debt, including loans, credit agreements, credit cards and outstanding mortgages.
With financial proposals made, agreement can be reached to ensure there will be no financial claims on either party’s assets in the future.
A family court will have to take into consideration a Separation Agreement as long as it meets the following criteria:
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