Ending a marriage or dissolving a civil partnership is a huge step and not a decision that can be taken lightly.

For those couples who may be experiencing difficulties in their relationship, a divorce or civil partnership dissolution can often seem too drastic, too final or can sometimes come too soon.

In such instances, a period of separation can be invaluable. Spending some time living independently from a spouse can often afford couples the time and space to assess the situation and consider whether divorce or dissolution is right for them.

In these cases, a separation agreement can be helpful. Separation agreements allow you and your spouse to split your assets, responsibilities, and obligations and go your separate ways, while remaining married.

In this blog, our experienced Family Solicitors take a closer look at separation agreements and consider some of their key benefits.

What is a separation agreement?

A separation agreement is a document made by couples that sets out their obligations to each other, such as financial commitments and other arrangements, during a period of separation.

A legal separation may be useful in the following situations:

  • If there are religious reasons you can’t divorce.
  • If you’ve been married or in a civil partnership for less than a year.
  • If you want time and space to decide whether to divorce or dissolve a civil partnership.

What is included in a separation agreement?

Separation agreements are bespoke and tailored to each couple. Most separation agreements usually include details about what will happen about:

  • Living arrangements, such as who will continue to live in the family home.
  • Arrangements for children, for example, details of where and with whom any children will live, along with information about visitation rights, parental access and maintenance payments.
  • Mortgages, including who will pay the mortgage or rent on a shared property.
  • Household bills. A separation agreement can clarify how household bills will be divided while you are living apart.
  • Joint accounts. A separation agreement can specify how joint financial assets are managed.
  • Personal items. Information about what happens to items such as cars, furniture, and other personal effects can also be included in a separation agreement.

What are the advantages of separation agreements?

Making a separation agreement has various benefits. These include:

  1. It gives you time. It can be very isolating when a relationship runs into problems, and divorce can sometimes seem like the only way out. However, a bit of time and space away from a partner can give you the opportunity to work through any difficulties while you consider whether a permanent break up is something you wish to pursue.
  • It formalises arrangements. A separation agreement means you are separate in the eyes of the law and makes your separation official rather than simply splitting up and retaining obligations to each other as spouses. Although separation agreements are not legally binding, they can be persuasive in court, and are rarely challenged if drawn up by a reputable family law solicitor.
  • It is flexible. A separation agreement is tailored to your needs. You decide what to include, and you and your partner get to agree on the various arrangements that need to be made.
  • It provides clarity. Setting out what will happen while you are separated from your partner means you both know where you stand and what your respective responsibilities and obligations are.
  • It helps in a divorce. Documenting practical matters and detailing how finances, children and living arrangements will work in a separation agreement makes it quicker and easier to divorce if you decide to make your separation permanent.

How do I get a separation agreement?

Civil partners and both married and unmarried couples can make a separation agreement.

Separating from a partner is never easy. It is not a decision that can be taken lightly, but knowing where you stand legally can help.

If you are experiencing difficulties with your partner and want to know what your options are, specialist legal advice is vital.

At Larcomes, all our family solicitors are committed to finding the right solution for you and your family.

Our friendly and experienced family lawyers are all members of Resolution, which promotes a sensitive, constructive, and cost-effective approach to family law that will most likely result in an amicable agreement.

Our team also includes accredited members of the Law Society’s Family Panel and the Law Society’s Children Panel, so you can be confident that you will have specialist legal advice to navigate the whole separation process.

To speak with one of our specialist family lawyers, please call Sandra Philips on 023 9244 8107 for our Portsmouth office or Adrian Silk on 023 9244 8106 for our Waterlooville office or make an online enquiry.

If you decide that a separation agreement is the right option for you, our experienced family lawyers will ensure it includes all the necessary arrangements. We can also help you agree on terms if you and your partner are struggling to reach a consensus.

Family Lawyers Waterlooville

At Larcomes, our experienced family law team can guide you and your partner through what is involved in making a separation agreement to ensure it protects your interests and is tailored to your needs.

Our specialist family law services include:

Regardless of the complexity of your family law matter or dispute, our solicitors in Waterlooville and Portsmouth have the knowledge and expertise to help.

We will explain all the options available to you and ensure you know the costs involved, guiding and supporting you through every step of the process.

For legal advice from one of our specialist family lawyers, please call 023 9224 6666 or make an online enquiry.

Click here to find out more about our family law team.

Please note that this article is not intended to be legal or professional advice. It is for general guidance only, and updates to the law may have changed since it was published.