What is a separation agreement?
This is a legal document which is drawn up to confirm the financial arrangements when couples, whether married, in a civil partnership or co-habiting, separate.
In cases of couples who are married or in a civil partnership, separation agreements tend only to be used if the parties do not intend to divorce or dissolve the civil partnership straight away. If a divorce or dissolution of civil partnership is intended then the agreement should be recorded in a consent order, the document used to formalise the settlement terms agreed within the proceedings for divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership.
Is a separation agreement legally binding?
A separation agreement is not binding on a court, however, in practice the courts are now much more willing to take account of separation agreements when considering financial remedies on divorce or dissolution of civil partnerships.
The court will consider whether the agreement was fair at the time it was entered into, whether it was freely entered into and whether steps were taken to act upon the agreement. In deciding, the court will establish whether the parties had reached an agreement which they intended to resolve their matrimonial affairs and will look at their conduct leading up to the agreement and afterwards. The longer the passage of time during which the parties relied on the agreement and neither made a claim for financial remedy, the more likely the court would be to make the agreement an order of the court.
What is the cost of preparing a separation agreement?
We may be able to prepare your separation agreement for a fixed fee. The fixed fee will depend upon the complexity of your matter and extent and value of the assets. The fixed fee does not include the costs of any negotiations on your behalf, nor any costs relating to financial disclosure which are usually charged at our hourly rates.