Legal Separation Agreements
26 Nov 2018
Author: Aman Dhillon
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If you are looking to separate from your partner and require a legal separation agreement to be put in the place, we recommend seeking the advice of a family law solicitor to ensure it is drawn up to protect your best interests.
What is legal separation?
Legal separation (sometimes called a Judicial separation) allows you to live apart without divorcing or ending a civil partnership.
You can ask for a legal separation for the same reasons as a divorce, but you do not need to demonstrate that there has been an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage. To obtain a legal separation, you apply to the court using a form (called a separation petition) and if in agreement the court will free you from the obligation of living together. You can find more information about the petition here https://www.hepburndelaney.co.uk/our-services/familylaw/judicial-separation/.
The Court can make many of the same financial orders which are also available when divorcing, but not all of them, such as pension sharing or pension attachment orders.
Even when the separation is granted, you are unable to remarry or enter into another civil partnership. For this you will need to go through the Divorce process.
What is a legal separation agreement?
A legal separation agreement is a document which sets out financial and children arrangements whilst you are separated. The document is flexible and can cover a number of areas:
– Where will the children live?
– Who pays the rent/mortgage?
– Will any money be paid to support you/ the children?
– What happens to debts like loans and overdrafts?
– Who will continue to live in your home?
– What happens to savings and investments and who manages these?
– What happens to assets like the car and your furniture?
– What the arrangements will be if a divorce takes place.
– The document states that you have agreed to separate, and on which date.
Why get a legal separation document?
When married couples separate, the presumption is that the parties will proceed with a Divorce. However, this may not be the course that you or your spouse wishes to take, whether this is for financial, familial or religious reasons.
You may also wish to obtain a legal separation document if you need time and space to work out if you want to end the marriage or because you are unable to divorce if married for less than a year.
Do I need a lawyer for a legal separation agreement?
Hepburn Delaney’s specialist family law team can assist with all elements of a legal separation. It is recommended that you seek legal advice when drawing up a legal separation agreement because the document is not automatically enforceable. However, if you have both taken legal advice and have both been full and frank about your finances, then it is much more likely that the document will be legally binding and enforceable in Court.
Hepburn Delaney can advise you on elements of a separation, and can discuss the merits of a legal separation and whether it might be the most suitable approach for you. Our team of expert family lawyers are here to help you achieve the best possible outcome. Please contact us on 01442 218090 or https://www.hepburndelaney.co.uk/contact-us/