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Contents Table

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What Is A Separation/Financial Settlement Agreement?
Difference Between Judicial Separation And Separation/Financial Settlement Agreement?
Can Unmarried Partners Also Enter Into Separation/Financial Settlement Agreement?
What Is Normally Covered By The Separation/Financial Settlement Agreement?
Is A Separation/Financial Settlement Agreement Legally Binding?
Do The Courts Give Significant Weight To Separation/Financial Settlement Agreements?
What Conditions Need To Be Met For The Courts To Take A Separation/Financial Settlement Agreement Seriously?
What Happens If You Reconcile After The Separation/Financial Settlement Agreement?
How Can We Help?
How Much We Charge?
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What Is A Separation/Financial Settlement Agreement?

A spearation/financial settlement agreement is a written agreement between two partners whose relationship has broken down and who are not yet ready for divorce of marriage or dissolution of civil partnership. It’s a written agreement that – typically – sets out your financial arrangements while you are separated. 

If your marriage breaks down but both parties do not wish to file for a divorce or cannot do so immediately, it is advisable to have financial settlement agreement setting out the terms on which you will separate.All matters arising from a separation should be negotiated between parties. Full and complete disclosure of finances should be made by both parties. You can enter into separation/financial settlement agreement whether you are married or unmarried partners.

Deeds of Separations are private agreements made between parties and do not involve the Court but are generally recognised by the courts in any subsequent proceedings. They also substantially reduce the possibility of challenge and conflict at a later date.

What Is The Difference Between Legal/Judicial Separation And Separation/Financial Settlement Agreement?

Confusingly a legal/judicial separation is different to a separation agreement/financial settlement agreement. A Judicial separation is the process of going through the Courts to formalise your separation. A separation/financial settlement agreement is a written document that notes how you intend to split your assets on divorce.

Can Unmarried Partners Also Enter Into Separation/Financial Settlement Agreement?

Unmarried couples may also find a separation/financial settlement agreement a useful way of dealing with the issue of splitting jointly-held assets and responsibilities. For example a co-habiting couple may want to formally agree on how to split the remaining rent owed on a fixed-term tenancy.

If you are not married you might find separation decisions difficult precisely because there was no formal marriage nor the opportunity for agreement on joint assets and responsibilities. The way in which you share joint interests may have evolved over time in an undefined way. Making a separation/financial settlement agreement will give you the opportunity to decide what is fair for each party and mutually agree on that decision, reducing the chance of misunderstanding or unfairness.

Even if you are separating amicably, remember that personal and financial circumstances can change - people find new partners and develop different financial requirements - it's a good idea to avoid doubt and conflict further down the line by formalising the separation with an agreement.

What Is Normally Covered By The Separation/Financial Settlement Agreement?

The separation/financial settlement agreement can cover a range of areas including:

  • Who pays the mortgage or rent, and household bills;
  • Who continues to live in the family home and/or what happens if it’s sold;
  • What happens to any debts, such as loans or overdrafts;
  • What happens to savings, investments and other financial assets;
  • What happens to any items such as cars or furniture, especially bought jointly;
  • Whether maintenance is paid to support one of you and/or any children;
  • Childcare arrangements: who any children live with and parental access.

Is A Separation/Financial Settlement Agreement Legally Binding?

Technically, no. Although the separation/financial settlement agreement can be a formal legal document, if it’s drawn up correctly by experienced legal professionals, it isn’t technically legally binding in its own right. A separation/financial settlement agreement is not a court order, and the court is not usually involved in creating it.  It is, however, a contract – so it can still be challenged in a court in the same way as any other contract. That’s why it’s important that it is properly written by a financial settlement solicitor.

A separation agreement / financial settlement agreement can often be made into a consent order later in the divorce process, by having your solicitor properly draft it and then applying to the court – so making it legally binding.

Do The Courts Give Significant Weight To Separation/Financial Settlement Agreement?

Yes, they can do, if they are properly drawn up with independent legal advice on both sides. The weight they carry in court depends on the contents of the agreement and the circumstances in which they were made, which we discuss more below.

What Conditions Need To Be Met For The Courts To Take A Separation/Financial Settlement Agreement Seriously?

If a separation/financial settlement agreement is entered into voluntarily by both parties, with the benefit of legal advice, full financial disclosure of both parties, and the terms in the agreement are fair and reasonable then it is likely that the judge will attach weight to the agreement in any subsequent court proceedings. It is important to have the separation agreement drafted by a legal expert so you get it right first time, so take the time to get it right now in case it is later challenged by either party.

It is also vital that any separation/financial settlement agreement conforms to legal conventions and legal standards in order for it to stand up in court.

For a court to consider upholding a separation agreement / financial settlement agreement as part of divorce proceedings, it would have to fulfill these conditions:

  • Both parties took legal advice before entering the agreement;
  • Both parties’ circumstances are broadly similar to when the agreement was made;
  • Both parties made full and frank financial disclosure.

What Happens If You Reconcile After The Separation/Financial Settlement Agreement?

If you resolve your issues and decide to reconcile after the separation agreement has been put into place, the separation agreement will come to an end. If you and your spouse reconcile then the separation agreement will be void.

How Can We Help With Separation/Financial Settlement Agreement?

Our team of divorce and family law solicitors will discuss the problems which have caused your marriage break down so we can establish and ensure that reasonable negotiations are taking place. A formal separation document can be drafted as a separation agreement which is a formal deed signed by both parties and contains all the detailed arrangements agreed by both parties.

How Much Sunrise Solicitors Charge For Separation/Financial Settlement Agreement?

  • Our team of divorce & family law solicitors will charge a fee from £700 + VAT for preparing and advising in relation to a separation/financial settlement agreement.

Divorce & Family Law News

No-fault divorce to start in autumn 2021

Couples seeking a no-fault divorce will have to wait until autumn 2021 even though proposed legislation removing fault from the divorce process has reached the finishing line of its parliamentary journey.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill concluded its passage through the House of Commons yesterday. It will return to the House of Lords to consider an amendment before receiving Royal assent. However, lord chancellor Robert Buckland told MPs that the bill’s reforms will not come into force on Royal assent ‘because time needs to be allowed for careful implementation’.
Buckland said: ‘At this early stage, we are working towards an indicative timetable of implementation in autumn 2021.’

However, family lawyers are delighted to see the bill reach the end of its parliamentary journey. The Law Society said ‘no-fault’ divorce will bring divorce law into the 21st century.
Jo Edwards, head of family at London firm Forsters, said: ‘Along with most family lawyers, and indeed the general public, I was thrilled to see the bill conclude its passage in parliament this week after 30 years of campaigning by Resolution and others and, in recent years, many false starts. Despite vocal last-minute attempts by some backbench MPs to derail the bill, we finally have the prospect of a more civilised, dignified divorce process fit for the 21st century.

‘The fact that couples will be able to petition for divorce jointly is a hugely important step symbolically and the introduction of a minimum overall timeframe shows that this is not the "quickie divorce" that some have suggested.  Because the detail of the rules around the new process, as well as court forms and the online portal, will need to be looked at in light of the new legislation, it is not likely that no-fault divorces will be a reality in England and Wales until late 2021 or even early 2022. For the 100,000 or so couples who divorce each year, they can't come a day too soon.’ READ MORE FROM SOURCE

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