Separation Agreements are common amongst couples who have decided that they no longer wish to be together, but are unable to issue divorce proceedings either due to religious reasons or because they are subject to the three year bar.
Separation Agreements, where legally binding, are contracts which set out the terms as to what will happen to the parties’ finances and the like when they are no longer living together. As no couple’s financial circumstances are the same, Separation Agreements may be flexible in accordance with the parties’ individual situation.
The benefit of recording such a Separation Agreement, in contrast to having a verbal agreement between you, is that it will be enforceable on you both if executed in the right way.
Separation Agreements can contain particulars (but not be limited to) such as:
• What will happen to the former matrimonial home; for example whether it will be sold or transferred into one of the party’s sole names;
• What will happen to any joint accounts you may have with your spouse, details as to how these will be closed and provisions for how the monies will be divided;
• Whether there will be any contributions made from one of the party’s pensions to the other party, or whether both parties agree to retain their own pensions;
• Divisions of any chattels from the former matrimonial home, for example; furniture, paintings, antiques, or any other items of particular value;
• Child maintenance or spousal maintenance may be recorded;
• Any lump sums provisions can be recorded;
• If there are any loans or liabilities, whether joint or sole, it should be recorded if one of the party is to make the repayments, or both. The amount of the repayments should be recorded for the sake of clarity; and
• Should divorce proceedings be issued at a later date, it may even be recorded in the agreement as to which party will issue the proceedings and under which ground.
For Separation Agreements to be fair and binding, it is important to seek legal advice to ensure that your rights are being protected.
Author: Stephanie Devine