When divorce is not an option, separation agreements can be a way for unmarried couples to separate legally, whilst protecting the children, property, money and investments.
A separation agreement is a legal document made between a couple who are considering separating or have already separated. Married partners, those in a civil partnership or cohabitating couples may choose to consider entering into a separation agreement.
Why might you choose to enter into separation agreement:
- You might have been married for less than one year and are unable to issue divorce proceedings on this basis.
- You and your spouse might want to wait until you are in a position to apply for a divorce based on the fact of “two years’ separation with consent” or “five years’ separation”, rather than the other facts of “adultery” or “behaviour”.
Another form of separation that a couple might wish to consider is “judicial separation”. This is similar to the divorce process but the court does not need to inquire as to whether the marriage has “irretrievably broken down”. Whilst it does not dissolve the marriage and bring it to an end, it enables the parties to live separately and apply for an order to deal with financial matters.
If a party makes an application for financial remedy proceedings in the future, the court will take the separation agreement into consideration. However, the court maintains discretion in determining the appropriate division of the parties’ financial resources even when there is a separation agreement; the court might need to consider if there are any compelling reasons why it would be “unjust” to hold the parties to the agreement. There is clear guidance and procedure to fellow in what meets the criteria for a “qualifying nuptial agreement”.
IMD Solicitors understand the difficulties and emotional strain families go through when a marriage breaks down and are here to help ensure the best possible agreement is put in place.