Guide To Deed of Separation Agreements
When, unfortunately, a relationship fails, and you are facing the decision to end your relationship it’s always traumatic.
Even if both partners want to separate, the pressure to make the best decisions can be massive, especially when you have children. Nevertheless, it’s important that your separation goes as well as it possibly can.
In this editorial, we aim to offer free information for divorcing couples and cover all aspects of marriage separation.
What Is a Deed of Separation Agreement?
A Separation Agreement, also known as a Deed of Separation, is an agreement between a divorcing or separating couple in the form of a legal contract. It aims to set out who will take on financial responsibilities like paying the mortgage or rent and household bills following a marriage separation.
If you’re married or in a civil partnership and you decide to separate from your partner, you can enter into a separation agreement to agree on how your money, property, assets, and other responsibilities are to be divided.
Obtaining a deed of separation agreement can be a good way of making sure both parties are clear about the terms of the separation until you get divorced or end your civil partnership. It can also help you avoid the need for court proceedings at a later stage when filing for divorce.
Furthermore, the details outlined in your legal agreement can be made into a consent order later during the divorce process, which ends all future financial claims and gives the court powers to enforce any aspect of the agreement should one party fail to comply.
Separation agreements for married couples
Married couples often use separation agreements as a precursor to divorce or as an alternative if you aren’t yet ready to start divorce proceedings.
As long as the agreement was drawn up without duress and both parties disclosed their income and assets truthfully, the agreement is likely to upheld by a Judge.
Separation agreements for unmarried couples
If you live with your partner and you are separating you likely have many joint interests that need to be dealt with, such as cars, savings, bills, and belongings.
Unlike married couples, those that live together without getting wed have fewer rights and protections following a separation.
Setting out what is to happen with household bills, rent/mortgage, and other such payments before going your separate ways can help to ease stress and worry when separating.
Can I use a free online separation agreement template?
Drawing up any legal agreement that stands a chance of being upheld by a Judge will need to be drafted by a solicitor. This is to ensure that specific legal clauses are drafted correctly, which you will not get from a free template found on Google.
The agreement you have drafted should be properly drawn up with the benefit of independent legal advice for both parties, again, to ensure the enforceability of the contract in court.
Separation Agreement Service
The solicitor drafted agreement is exactly the same as a high-street solicitor would draft for you, except we only charge a fixed-fee of £599 including VAT.
Give us a call to speak to a member of our team in the strictest confidence. Or you can fill out our contact form and we’ll ring you back.
01793 384 029
Our phone lines are open Mon – Fri 9am – 5pm
- Solicitor drafted Separation Agreement to your exact needs
- Professional legal advice on the implications of the agreement
- The agreement is sent to your ex-partner’s solicitors if they have one
- All correspondence from your ex-partner’s solicitor will be dealt with
- We advise on any requested contract amendments or objections
- The original cohabitation contract is securely stored for you
What can be included within the agreement?
A separation agreement can cover a range of areas, such as:
- How much each party is to pay in respect of the mortgage, rent or household bills.
- How any debts such as loans and overdrafts will be split between you.
- How the money from the sale of a home will be split after payment of fees.
- How to separate joint bank accounts and savings.
- Division of personal property such as cars, household goods and furniture.
- The payment of any ongoing maintenance for a spouse or children.
- Who the children will live with and when they will see the other spouse, e.g. parental access.
- A lump sum order whereby a specific sum of money is paid to either party as an alternative to maintenance payments.
Pros and cons of a separation agreement
- It lets both parties know where they stand, which can take the heat away from the separation.
- Both parties have certainty and clarity at a difficult time.
- You can decide exactly what you’d like to include.
- They are likely to be upheld by a court if they are drafted correctly.
- It shows that both parties consider the relationship to be over and the date of separation.
- Changes cannot be made to the agreement unless both parties agree to them.
- The court can disregard some parts or all of the agreement when it comes to a divorce.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do Separation Agreements work from a practical perspective?
Depending on the agreement you have reached, you may need to carry out certain actions upon separation such as selling a property and splitting the proceeds equally.
If either party fails to respect the provisions of the agreement, the other party may take legal action for breach of contract if the terms of the agreement have not been carried out.
However, if the deed is not drafted correctly then it may not prove to be legally binding.
It is, therefore, important that both of you receive separate and independent legal advice before signing the agreement, as this may be needed as evidence in any court proceedings to enforce the terms of the agreement.
Like any contract, the only way to enforce it is to take the matter to court.
How much does a Separation Agreement cost?
A Separation Agreement will cost you £599 when using our solicitor drafted service. It’s a full representation service and includes professional legal advice as part of the fixed fee.
Is a Deed of Separation Agreement legally binding in the UK?
A separation agreement is not legally binding in its own right. It is a legal contract between separating couples and not a court order, which means it can be challenged in a court in the same way as any other contract can. Although courts in England and Wales are strictly not bound to impose the separation agreement, in reality, an agreement is likely to be upheld if it meets certain conditions.
Can you be separated but live together?
When planning a legal separation from your spouse or civil partner one of you will usually want to move out of the family home.
However, this is not always possible, and is very often due to financial constraints as it may be impossible to sustain two separate homes. Another reason could be the desire to maintain a stable family environment for children.
Under either of these circumstances you may not want to end your marriage formally and choose instead to be legally separated. This leaves little option other than to be separated but living together in the same house.
Thankfully you can be legally separated but living together with your partner or spouse, but there are certain rules which must be observed to ensure a court grants you a divorce if or when the time comes. See separated but living together rules for more information.