A separation agreement is a written contract which both people in a relationship agree to.
No matter what your current circumstances, if you want to separate from your partner, you can have a separation agreement drawn up. It’s worth considering a formal agreement, particularly if children are involved. A solicitor can help you to fully define your requirements and create a legally binding separation agreement on your behalf, so that you feel confident moving forward.
What does a separation agreement include?
This covers the details and history of the relationship including names, length of relationship, length of time living together, details of any children involved and the dates of the separation.
There are some key principles that need to be clearly outlined within the agreement: –
- It’s voluntary
Both people are voluntarily entering into the agreement and neither feel under pressure to agree with the terms of the agreement.
- It’s honest
The agreement contains full disclosure of all assets and financial responsibilities of each person.
- It’s complete
Both people agree that it includes everything that is relevant to the separation at the time it was written, and they will not create new claims in the future. This does not mean that a change in circumstances would not be considered by a court, and clauses will be included to support this.
Common clauses in a separation agreement
The are a number of scenario’s that the agreement needs to cover
- What happens if either person should die?
- What happens if either person breaches the agreement?
- What if either person remarries or decides to live with someone else?
- Any other significant change
All financial assets and responsibilities should be detailed clearly in separate sections so that they can be referred to within the agreement.
The agreement should outline what will happen to the property you have been living in. Some options include selling the property and dividing the proceeds, one person ‘buying out’ the other to gain sole possession, or an agreement to wait until children have reached a particular age before the property is dealt with. Details of how any expenses will be divided will also be covered within the agreement.
This section will cover ‘who gets what’ and how these items are to be passed between you or stored for the future.
Financial and business assets
This section covers actual or potential assets and businesses. Generally, this section sets out the amounts of money to be transferred in order to achieve sole ownership of assets by each person. Where a business is owned, the person leaving the business agrees to completely disassociate themselves from the business, giving up any title, business contacts, intellectual property etc.
Both people have equal responsibility to pay off debts that are in joint names, and both are equally liable. This section should cover how and when joint debts will be repaid, for example in full, or in instalments (in which case interest is likely to be payable). You may also agree that one person will pay off more than the other, and that should be documented here too.
It may be agreed that one person will pay the other for a period of time or on an ongoing basis. This is known as maintenance and can apply to either partner or to children. There could be a clause here which allows for inflation.
Lump sum payment
I there is to be a lump-sum payment to either partner: the amount, the time-frame and an acknowledgement that this is a final payment.
Where children are involved, this section will outline where they will spend their time and with whom. If decisions have been made on how the children will be raised this should be documented here too.
Provision for divorce
If divorce is planned then this section ensures that both parties agree to this intention and the time-scale for proceedings. It also states that they intend use this agreement as a basis for their divorce settlement.
Rucklidge Law is a law firm specialising in family law and we can create Separation Agreement on your behalf. If this Is something that you would like to discuss in more detail, why not book a free 30-minute consultation with one of our solicitors.