When you and your partner decide to separate, a separation agreement could help you share your finances fairly and decide how you are going to live apart. You may have joint assets to divide up, or you may wish to protect your personal assets. This can be a difficult process, but an experienced family solicitor can help make the process easier. A separation agreement can cover:
- Division of shared assets
- Division of shared debts
- Responsibility for ongoing financial obligations
- Where each of you will live
- Possible maintenance payments
- Access to children and their maintenance and living arrangements
If you are not in a position to divorce, possibly because you have not been living apart for long enough, a separation agreement can help get the terms you want.
When it comes to formal separation, couples generally follow one of two key routes. Whether you part ways using a deed of separation or separation agreement or you secure a judicial separation, our expert family law solicitors HOMS Assist, will guide you through the process.
Here we outline the main provisions of both routes to separation:
Deed of Separation or Separation Agreement
This is the most straightforward route to separation. Both parties agree to the terms of their separation and sign a separation agreement, which then binds them contractually. Before signing the deed, both parties should swear affidavits of means detailing their income and assets. Remember however, that any terms relating to pensions may not be enforceable against the pension trustees or legally binding. This is why many separating couples seek a consent order for judicial separation where terms are agreed.
In a judicial separation, one spouse applies, and a court order is eventually made. Matters are not always adversarial, however. If the parties have agreed to matters, terms of settlement or consent can be drafted and made an order of the court by agreement. A court hearing is only required if matters cannot be agreed. A court will grant a judicial separation only if it is satisfied that proper provision has been made for any children and each party to the marriage.
Note: In light of a Supreme Court determination, couples may obtain a separation agreement or a decree of judicial separation—but not both.
Do not worry if you are not sure which is the best option for you: Contact us to secure expert advice tailored to the unique circumstances of your case.