Why You Need a Separation Agreement
You and your partner may decide to separate, but not officially divorce. This could be because:
- Your religious beliefs
- Worries over the cost of a divorce
- You want time and space to work out if you want to end the marriage
- You’ve been married for less than a year
If you do not have a formal agreement, such as a Separation Agreement, this could lead to arguments with your partner, such as:
- Household bills and debt repayments
- Possessions, including any assets acquired after the separation
- How to deal with joint assets
- Arrangements for any children involved
If you inherit, experience business success or a financial windfall, your spouse is within their rights to try and make a claim on such assets, as there has been no legal end to your marriage.
The same can be said if your spouse gets into difficulty with their finances, you may suffer too. If your spouse is sued or engages in any financial misdeeds, your assets could be at risk.
Also, any assets or pension acquired after a separation can be in the “pot” for division in a divorce if they are not safeguarded. A family law solicitor can advise on this.
Whilst a couple may part amicably initially and feel that they can trust each other, doubts and problems can arise as time passes, circumstances change, or new relationships may form with other people.
A Separation Agreement could help you divide your finances and decide how you are going to live apart during a separation and set out how arrangements early if you do decide to divorce in the future.
What is a Separation Agreement?
Separation Agreements can make the process of separation easier, which may be a particular concern when children are involved.
A Separation Agreement records who is to have what and what the parties’ responsibilities are. The purpose of the agreement is for both parties to decide on how they would like their assets in the short term, but also how they would be dealt with in any future divorce proceedings.
We can help you draw up a Separation Agreement that covers:
- Who will live where
- How shared debts will be split
- Who has responsibility for repaying any debts
- How shared assets are divided, such as property, money, investments and business interests
- How to divide joint bank accounts and savings
- Whether there will be ongoing maintenance payments
- Where any children will live
- When you or your partner will get access to any children
- How you or your partner will contribute financially to the care of any children
The advantages of a separation agreement include:
- It provides clarity and certainty over your separation
- It gives clear evidence that both you and your partner consider your relationship to have ended at this point (although it doesn’t prevent you from getting back together in future)
- It can prevent arguments over assets that you may have received since separation
- Fairly negotiated agreements will generally be upheld by the court if challenged in the future
A Separation Agreement doesn’t mean you have to divorce – couples often find that a period of separation allows them to reconcile on better terms.
However, if you decide to divorce at a later stage, a Separation Agreement can be used to draw up a Financial Consent Order, which becomes legally binding when the Decree Absolute is granted in divorce proceedings.
Services Provided by our Separation Agreement Solicitors in Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham, London and Nationwide
Our family law solicitors cover the full spectrum of divorce and separation cases, including:
Our Family Law Team
Our Family Law team represent clients in:
The team also offer a free 30-minute consultation on your first visit, which can be made face-to-face, on the phone or virtually. Contact us on 0114 2496666 to make an appointment.
Whey Choose Howells Solicitors
The Howells Matrimonial teams are one of the best in the country and one of the largest in the north of England. They been consistently highly ranked for family law work in the north by the Legal 500. Howells have over 40 years’ experience supporting families and are ranked high on Review Solicitors where they have a rating of 4.9 out of 5 for their client care. The team are also accredited by Resolution and the Law Society.
The team offer flexible appointments to suit your availability and are transparent with their fees, offering affordable services without compromising on quality. You can make an appointment face-to-face, on the phone or by video. Contact us on 0114 2496666 to make an appointment.
The family law team at Howells are often praised by clients for their honesty, compassion, and down to earth approach with their clients, and are excellent at their client care making the process of your case less stressful.
Our family law team offer transparent and affordable prices to suit all financial circumstances. You will always be kept up to date with costs and they offer fixed fees for most areas, so you are always in full control. Our affordable and fixed fee services for family law matters are designed to give you peace of mind over costs at what can be a stressful time.
Find a full list of our fees here.
Separation Agreement FAQs
Are Separation Agreements legally binding?
Although not an official court order, a properly drawn up separation agreement is likely to be considered by any court asked to rule on its validity. To increase the likelihood that a court would enforce a separation agreement it is essential that both parties have independent legal advice on the terms of the agreement.
We have a shared pet – Can that go into our agreement?
You can lay out the arrangements for any family pet in your separation agreement and include care arrangements, who will pay for the insurance, vet bills, and other expenses.
Can we write our own separation agreement?
In theory, yes, however if there is any dispute in the future, the court are less likely to accept your separation agreement. Instructing a family law solicitor could save you legal fees in the future. Also, without professional legal advice you may not fully understand what your rights and responsibilities are.
How long does a separation agreement last for?
A Separation Agreement does not expire.
Can we stay legally separated but married forever?
Yes, you could do that. However, we would suggest you seek legal advice at the earliest possible stage.