If you are part of a married couple and you wish to separate but do not want to seek a divorce immediately, or if you are an unmarried couple and your relationship has broken down, a separation agreement is a legal document which can be drawn up to confirm details of the division of property, finances and arrangements for children.
Unlike undergoing a divorce, family law recognised separation agreements mean that a couple’s marriage still stands and each spouse still has legal obligations to the other spouse. However, sometimes couples want to take their time before formally dissolving the marriage and a separation agreement, drawn up with the help of family lawyer, can help the couple manage their finances during the time of formal separation.
Unmarried couples are treated differently to married couples under family law – sorting out the financial claim is not necessarily so clear cut or easily ruled upon by law courts – so, a formal Deed of Separation can be extremely useful, especially if a claim is later made through the courts.
The agreement can include information regarding a number of matters, including:
Before negotiating and drafting a Deed of Separation family lawyers or mediators will need each party to provide full and frank financial disclosure. This should include documentary evidence of income, assets and liabilities.
Each party should seek independent legal advice and the terms of any agreement should be agreed by both parties and their solicitors before both parties sign the document.
Unlike a court ordered divorce financial settlement, a separation agreement is not strictly binding under English and Welsh family law. However, it does show intention of the parties to address the issue of their finances, arrangements for children and the division of property. So if one party reneges on the agreement, the signed document could be useful in a court of law at a later date.
Plus, if a couple go on to seek a divorce, the time taken to settle any financial claim may be greatly reduced due to the presence of a well-drawn-up separation agreement.
For more information about separation agreements in divorce and family law, please contact the experienced and friendly team at George Ide in Chichester and Bognor Regis.
We are happy to have an initial discussion of your circumstances on a no-obligation basis and will offer you astute and pragmatic legal options suitable for your personal situation.
Call today. We are here to help.