A Separation Agreement will determine what happens to your finances and your children if you separate and is suitable for couples who wish to delay or are undecided whether to divorce. Although unromantic, it is a sensible thing to do and is especially important if one party to the marriage has more assets than the other.
Often people chose a Separation Agreement if they need to wait to qualify for divorce based on 2 years separation by agreement. A Separation Agreement is also suitable for people who have not been married.
What’s Included in a Separation Agreement?
A Separation Agreement typically includes details such as:
- Payments towards mortgage or rent and other household bills such as council tax.
- Debts in joint and sole names and who is responsible for those debts, including those that have been amassed before cohabitation or marriage. Who will be responsible for those debts in the event of separation?
- Savings – joint or in sole name and how they will be distributed if you separate.
- Joint assets such as cars or furniture – who will keep them or will they be sold if you separate?
- How you own property, such as your home, in sole name, joint in equal shares or joint in unequal shares. What will happen to the home if you separate? Who will move out? If one of you moves out will you still pay towards the house?
- Joint bank accounts – will they be closed? Transferred?
- Life insurance in joint names or on each other.
- Nominated beneficiary under pensions.
- If you have children who they will live with and where and how you will each support them
- Mutual wills.
- Review clauses – for example when you have children.
- Inheritance and gifts from others – to be shared or kept apart?
- When you will divorce, who will be the petitioner and on what grounds.
The Separation Agreement will focus on financial matters and will not include details of domestic life.
Are Separation Agreements Legally Enforceable?
Separation Agreements can be legally enforceable, as long as they include full financial disclosure and no details about your financial circumstances have been hidden or intentionally left out and that you both have agreed to enter into the Separation Agreement of your own free will and that you understand the terms you are agreeing to.
The Separation Agreement needs to be properly drafted as a legal contract, however they can be overturned during the divorce process if one party makes an application to the court. They would need to show a compelling reason as to why they did not wish to be bound by the Separation Agreement, such as a change in circumstances. In such cases, a Separation Agreement is not as legally binding or as enforceable as a Consent Order you obtain on divorce.
For more information or to discuss your circumstances with our Separation Agreement Solicitors, please contact us on 02380 236025 and a member of our team will be happy to help you.