Separation Agreements or Deeds of Separation can be used by both married and unmarried couples who are separating.

Separation Agreements for couples who are married or in a Civil Partnership

Separation agreements may be entered into by couples who do not feel that they are ready to formally end either their marriage or their Civil Partnership through the Court but wish to try and resolve matters such as property and finances.

Separation agreements are a way of acknowledging that you and your spouse or civil partner no longer live together and also set out agreements that you have made. They may cover such things as:

  • What will happen to any shared property/properties
  • How any joint assets will be divided
  • How any debts may be divided
  • Living and visiting for any children you may have
  • Financial arrangements for any children you may have

Enforceability

It is worth remembering that for married couples or couples who are in a Civil Partnership Separation Agreements may not be enforceable through the Court system.  It may well be that a Separation Agreement would not be upheld if the situation of either yourself or your spouse or civil partner significantly changes prior to the making of any final Court order. 

They are not legally binding as either a Divorce or the Dissolution of a Civil Partnership and accordingly it will be not be possible for you to either remarry or enter a new Civil Partnership until there have been formal proceedings to the end the first relationship.

Separation Agreements for unmarried couples

Unlike for couples who are either married or in a Civil Partnership Separation Agreements between unmarried couples can in fact be legally binding.  This is because the Court does not have the same ability to make in particular financial orders for an unmarried couple as it does for either a married couple or civil partners.

Provided the agreements have been entered in to transparently and fairly and each party has had the opportunity to obtain independent legal advice if they wish to do so it is highly likely that any Separation Agreement between unmarried couples that dealt with financial and property issues are likely to be held contractually and legally binding if there was a dispute at a later date.

As with married couples or civil partners a Separation Agreement may also deal with the living and visiting arrangements of any children that you may have.  As with any arrangement for a child such an agreement is not strictly enforceable but it is persuasive for a Court although can always be subject to change as the needs of a child.

Avoid the courts with a legal separation agreement

It is worth remembering that:

  • Separation Agreements do not involve the court system so are not enforceable by the court system
  • They may be harder to uphold if your situation changes
  • They are not the same as a divorce so they will not make it possible for you to remarry.

For further information on Separation Agreements or any other family matter, contact our family law team online or call us today on 0121 746 3360.

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