Family Solicitors in Essex
Separation Agreements Solicitors based in Waltham Abbey
What is a Separation Agreement?
If you are married
A separation agreement is usually used when a married couple wants to separate but haven’t decided on whether they want to divorce at this stage or not. The separation agreement outlines the terms each party agrees to. For example the agreement will set out a variety of topics and duties such as who pays the mortgage.
If you are unmarried
Many unmarried couples also find separation agreements a useful way of outlining issues of splitting jointly-held assets. For example an unmarried couple may want to formally agree on how to split the remaining rent owed on a fixed-term tenancy.
Why use a separation agreement?
If you have been living with a partner for a considerable amount of time, you are most likely to have been sharing a number of assets which make up normal life such as a home, a car or joint savings bank account. You may have also shared responsibilities such as household bills, mortgage payments and parental responsibilities.
A separation agreement aims to address what will be done with these jointly-held assets and interests and to set out any steps that need to be taken such as selling the family home as a means to split the proceeds generated.
When to use a separation agreement
If you are married and are separating
You may wish to draw up a separation agreement as an alternative or prior to divorce, either because you may not want a divorce or because you are unable to begin divorce proceedings at this stage.
In England and Wales you must be married for a period of at least one year before you can apply for divorce. After one year, you must prove at least one of the following grounds for divorce:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Two years separation with consent
- Five years separation without consent
If you cannot satisfy these legal grounds for divorce, a separation agreement is a way to settle how your assets and responsibilities will be divided. For married couples, using a separation agreement has the advantage of leaving open the chance of reconciliation and it is not necessary to take the matter to Court.
If you are unmarried and are separating
A separation agreement for unmarried couples is a useful way of dealing with the issue of dividing jointly-held assets and responsibilities.
Unmarried couples may find separation decisions difficult as there has been no formal marriage nor the opportunity for agreement on jointly-held assets and responsibilities.
Drawing up a formal agreement is an opportunity for both parties to decide what is just and to mutually acknowledge this decision, reducing the possibility of misunderstandings or unfairness.
Get in touch – we are here to help with your separation agreement
If you are considering a separation agreement whether you are married or unmarried, we can help you understand your legal rights and options available. Please do not hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us on 0203 876 7136 and we are happy to advise you.
Please note that you do not have to attend our offices and we can take your instructions by email, phone or Zoom video call conferencing.