Separation agreements explained

What is a separation agreement?

A separation agreement is used when a married couple want to separate but haven't decided on whether a divorce is needed or not.

Terms are outlined that each party agrees to which sets out a variety of topics and duties, such as who pays the mortgage.

Separation agreements can cover a wide variety of topics, such as living arrangements, maintenance, property and finances, as well as arrangements for any children.

When would I use one?

It's used when a couple is unsure about the future of their marriage. It allows for important issues to be ironed out - leaving both parties free from resorting to going to court.

Additionally, separation agreements for couples who are sure of their upcoming divorce allow for a temporary cessation of hostilities and provides a cooling off period before involving the courts.

Do I need a lawyer to make one?

It is essential to seek legal advice when drawing up one.

Even if you use a solicitor-approved separation agreement template, many terms should be discussed with a solicitor.

While it's negotiable and flexible it is still a contract and it can become permanent if divorce proceedings go forward.

As such, expert legal advice is absolutely necessary to ensure you have drawn up a fair and legally robust document.

What is a separation agreement template?

It's a simple way to create a contract that covers almost all the essential ground in transitioning into a smooth separation.

Templates cover the whole gamut of topics, including lump sum payments, transfers of property, pension splitting, maintenance, school fees, bank accounts, and any arrangements needed for children.

The separation agreement template available through Lawpack has been certified by solicitors for use in England and Wales.

Why would I want a separation agreement template?

Separation agreements are a way to ensure that your and the other party's needs and boundaries are being respected and any violation of the terms can be taken to court as a breach of contract.

However, they need to be carefully drawn up within the conventions of law; otherwise, they may not withstand pressure in a court.

Separation agreement templates are a way of minimising that risk, providing enough guidance to ensure its contract status but enough flexibility to suit your unique circumstances.

Is the agreement taken into account if I divorce?

If the terms are reasonable, it will likely hold up in front of a judge as a fair settlement and is unlikely to be interfered with.

However, this is all conditional on the document conforming with legal standards, which emphasises the importance of separation agreement templates for ensuring a well written and respected contract.

Is the agreement legally binding?

Separation agreements are considered legally binding contracts, assuming that they are written in accordance to legal standards, either with the help of a lawyer or by using a separation agreement template.

Significant changes in your or your spouse's financial circumstances may prompt the court to move away from the terms of the agreement. 

But it is generally the case that if both parties were aware of the true financial circumstances of the other and received independent legal advice at the time of the agreement, then the court will usually enforce the terms of that agreement.


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Published on: June 30, 2011

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