Separation Agreements - An Alternative to Divorce
By Hasnain Shah
A separation agreement is written document in which a couple who intend to live apart set out their wishes concerning financial arrangements, property, and matters relating to children.
Such an agreement is ideal for many couples who have had a relationship breakdown and require time apart, but are not ready to initiate divorce proceedings. In such cases, having a separation agreement drawn up that is tailored to cover unique requirements, may be the best option going forward.
Furthermore, if the criteria for divorce have not been met, the separation agreement can be used as a temporary measure. For example, if you wish to separate within a year of marriage, or if there are no appropriate grounds for divorce, you may have to wait till the 2 year separation period is fulfilled. During this time, a separation agreement can govern certain aspects of the relationship.
Separation agreements typically provide provisions for:
- Division of property and joint savings
- Residence of the matrimonial home
- Financial support to spouse
- Maintenance for children
- Other provisions for children, including the payment of school fees etc
- Who the children should live with and contact arrangements
- Responsibility for payment of outgoings, including mortgage payments etc
Separation agreements are flexible arrangements and so anything unique to the parties in question may also be provided for. The agreement is a contract which makes it legally binding. If any provisions are not adhered to by either party, legal action could be taken for breach of contact.
If divorce proceedings are eventually instigated, the court will consider several factors as to whether the agreement should be upheld or if a new financial order should be made. Some of the main considerations for the court include if it is fair to uphold the agreement and whether or not both parties received independent legal advice before agreeing to the terms. It is therefore essential to have an experienced family solicitor to advise you and correctly draft the separation agreement, or make the necessary amendments.
If you would like to be put in touch with a recommended family solicitor to advise you further on separation agreements, please call Caven on 08001 221 2299 or fill out the web-form.
Hasnain Shah is one of Caven’s most experienced and knowledgeable telephone advisors.
- Last Updated on 13/02/2012