How to Get a Divorce Separation Agreement
04 April 2017
If your marriage has broken down but you are not ready to get a divorce, you can use a Separation Agreement to formalise the arrangements between you and your ex. Then, if or when you do get a divorce, the Financial Settlement is based on the Separation Agreement.
Why Get a Separation Agreement?
Some people know that their relationship is over but don’t want to start divorce proceedings straight away. For example, it might be that:
- You haven’t been married for a year, which in England & Wales means that you cannot get a divorce yet
- You don’t feel emotionally ready for the marriage to be over
- You don’t have enough money to complete divorce proceedings, or to live in separate households
- You don’t want to divorce yet because you own a property that has fallen into negative equity
- You want to use 2 years separation as the reason for the divorce
If you find yourself in this position, you should consider a Separation Agreement. This written agreement records what is going to happen to your money, assets and children now that you are no longer together.
The main benefit of a Separation Agreement is that it provides clarification on issues that inevitably arise when couples break up, such as who (if anyone) is going to keep the family home, where the children are going to live, and how you are going to share any liabilities.
For couples who are getting a divorce, these arrangements are dealt with in the Divorce Settlement. But there is no such security for people who are separating, meaning you cannot be certain about where you stand and what might happen in the future.
A Separation Agreement can last for as long as you are separated. If and when you go on to get divorced, the Divorce Financial Settlement is based on the decisions you previously made in the Separation Agreement, providing that the Judge is satisfied that the arrangement is fair to both individuals and protects the interests of any children involved.
How to Get a Separation Agreement
You can get a DIY Separation Agreement where you and your ex write down the decisions you have reached. However, it’s always best to get the agreement professionally drawn up by a specialist Family and Divorce Lawyer. This will ensure that:
- Each person understands what they are agreeing to and the implications for the future
- The Agreement is reasonable and not created under duress
- The correct legal language is used
- There are no loopholes that could potentially put you at risk
A Separation Agreement is not legally-binding, but is more likely to be upheld in Court if it’s been professionally drafted.
You can get a Separation Agreement regardless of whether or not you still live together. But if you are living under the same roof, you will need to keep separate households. For more information see Separation Agreements for Couples Living in the Same House.
Our Divorce Lawyers offer legal advice on Separation Agreements, and can draft a legal document that confirms the arrangements you and your ex-spouse have made.