Separation Agreements: 5 Things You Need to Know

When a couple separate whether amicably or acrimoniously, divorce may not happen immediately. Instead, the couple may decide to informally agree arrangements for any independent children of the family and agree a financial settlement between themselves. This can be done by way of a separation agreement.

Here’s what you need to know when considering whether to enter into one:-

  1. A separation agreement is a legal agreement that can define how a couple’s finances are to be arranged i.e. how the matrimonial home will be dealt with, as well as setting out what contact arrangements in respect of any children of the family.
  2. It can record any agreement reached in respect of child maintenance.
  3. One disadvantage of a separation agreement is that it is not legally enforceable until its terms are approved by a Judge within divorce proceedings. Even when the parties agree arrangements between themselves, it is not possible to override the court’s jurisdiction in financial remedy proceedings in divorce.
  4. If the terms of the agreement have been reasonably negotiated and both parties have sought legal advice as to the terms of the agreement, then the settlement is usually be upheld.  This means, whilst a separation agreement is not legally binding it can be made legally binding if both parties agree to this once divorce proceedings are issued.
  5. Because separation agreements are not legally binding, couples may not have the closure and certainty that they would like. However, upon divorce, either party can apply to the court for financial settlement to be reconsidered.

There is a lot to think about in deciding whether or not a separation agreement is right for you. You will need to consider the advantages and the disadvantages before proceeding and it is essential that any agreement is properly drafted so that it achieves your aims.

For professional advice contact our specialist solicitor in family law, Lisa Bell on 01229 580 956.

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