Separation agreement solicitors

We offer expert legal advice about separation agreements.

What is a separation agreement?

If you have separated from your spouse but you are not yet ready to get a divorce, you can make a separation agreement.

A separation agreement sets out the arrangements you and your ex-partner have made regarding money, property and child care. It can include things such as how you are going to divide any savings, who the children will live with and what will happen to the family home.

For couples who want to get divorced immediately, a separation agreement won't be necessary.

A separation agreement is not legally binding but if you do get divorced, the court will consider the arrangement you have previously agreed to.

What should a separation agreement include?

We will write a separation agreement to best fit your particular circumstances. For example you may want a separation agreement to include:

  • how much each of you contributes to rent/mortgage or household bills until you can vacate, sell or transfer your home
  • how to deal with any mutual debts
  • how to deal with any proceeds from the sale of a property, after paying off any outstanding mortgage balance or sale costs
  • how to deal with any pensions, joint bank accounts or credit cards
  • what will happen to items you’ve bought together, such as cars and furniture
  • what will happen to the family pets
  • maintenance agreed to support one person and/or any children
  • who the children will live with and when they will see the other parent

How much does a separation agreement cost?

Our family law solicitors offer a hourly rate for separation agreements, starting from £210 per hour.

What can our settlement agreement solicitors help with?

  • initial legal advice by consultation or detailed telephone call
  • advising you of the implications of signing a separation agreement
  • informing you of the financial information needed and drafting a schedule setting out your respective financial positions
  • drafting the separation agreement to reflect the agreement you have reached with your partner
  • any negotiations if there is a disagreement

What's the difference between divorce and separation?

A divorce legally ends a marriage between two people. A separation agreement does not end the marriage, it sets out the terms of the separation that the couple have agreed to.

A divorce is legally binding, but a separation agreement is not, although a court is likely to take it into consideration if the couple divorces in the future.

Should I get divorced or make a separation agreement?

Some people do not want to start divorce proceedings straight away. This could be for any number of reasons, such as being unable to afford separate households, or wanting to rely on two years' separation when getting a divorce. Alternatively there may be a property that has fallen into negative equity, making it necessary to delay the divorce.

In the meantime, you and your ex-partner need to make important decisions about your finances, property and children. Even if you are still living together, you need to figure out issues such as who is going to pay the bills, who will stay in the family home when the divorce does go through, and even which rooms each person is allowed to use while you live together in the same house.

When you reach an understanding, you can formally record your arrangement in writing with a separation agreement. It's helpful to think of it as an interim agreement, so that when you do get a divorce it will be mirrored in the divorce financial settlement.

Separation agreements for couples living in the same house

If you are separated but living together in the same house, we can advise you on how to maintain separate households under the same roof, and the implications this might have if you do decide to divorce in the future.

To be separated in the eyes of the law, you must be 'maintaining separate households'. This is the legal way of saying that you must lead separate lives, despite the fact you are living under the same roof. In order to comply with the legal definition, you must no longer share the day to day activities of the household, such as:

  • sharing a bedroom
  • sharing food shopping
  • cooking for each other
  • eating meals together
  • doing each other's laundry

If you are living together and you plan to divorce later on the basis of separation, the court will want to see that you are maintaining separate households.

About Co-op Legal Services

The family law team at Co-op Legal Services includes specialist family solicitors, divorce solicitors and children law solicitors with Resolution accreditation and accredited experts in child abduction, co-habitation, domestic abuse, property disputes, high net worth money matters and financial advocacy.

Resolution is a national organisation of family lawyers committed to non-confrontational divorce, separation and other family problems.

As part of the Co-op Group, our values of openness, honesty, social responsibility and caring for others are core to the service we provide.