A legal separation agreement between spouses is quite rare nowadays.
However, it is still possible to negotiate a separation agreement setting out arrangements between spouses in relation to:
- When they will divorce (if ever);
- What financial arrangements will be upon separation between the parties; &
- What the arrangements for the children will be upon separation.
A legal separation agreement can be used in a number of circumstances where divorce is not the answer at the time, for example:
- When parties have not been married for 12 months and are thus prohibited from issuing divorce proceedings;
- Where parties do not wish to divorce because of religious considerations; &
- Where parties wish to have a very quick financial settlement prior to a divorce being issued.
A separation agreement is not 100% watertight, as they are simply a persuasive factor to be taken into account by a Judge dividing assets upon divorce. They are, however, extremely difficult to overturn in the event that one party decides that they do not wish to be bound by such an agreement in subsequent divorce proceedings.
To have the best chance of such an agreement being upheld by the Court, the parties negotiating the agreement should:
- Each have separate and independent legal advice;
- Make full disclosure in respect of their financial position; &
- Ensure the separation agreement provides a fair settlement for both.
Neither party must be under any duress or pressure to sign the agreement.
If a separation agreement is right for you, a deed can be drawn up relatively quickly and at a reasonable cost.
For anything further, one of our specialists would be delighted to meet you to talk through your options and answer any questions. Please contact us at any time.