Choosing to end your marriage or civil partnership is a big step. If you need a break from your relationship but you are not quite ready to legally end it, we can help you enter into a Separation Agreement instead.
Separation Agreements allow couples to disentangle their lives and separate their finances without the finality of officially ending their legal relationship. If you later choose to divorce or dissolve your civil partnership, having a Separation Agreement in place will make your financial settlement proceedings much simpler to navigate.
Our committed team of family law solicitors provide expert advice to individuals across Bournemouth, Poole and the wider Dorset area. As members of Resolution, we firmly believe in helping clients resolve contentious issues as efficiently and constructively as possible.
Although separation is not an “official” end to your relationship, we appreciate how stressful and acrimonious coming to an agreement about your finances with your spouse can be. We aim to provide guidance and professional support to help you find a solution without stirring up unnecessary conflict. We are highly skilled in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods such as family mediation and our team includes Resolution-qualified mediator, Mark Hensleigh.
What is a Separation Agreement?
A Separation Agreement – or Deed of Separation – is a legal document that you can put in place if you and your spouse do not want to, or cannot, get a divorce or civil partnership dissolution. It can cover a wide range of matters, including:
- How your rent or mortgage will be paid
- How your household bills will be paid
- Who will pay your debts
- Who will live in the family home and whether it should be sold
- What will happen to your savings and investments
- What will happen to assets such as your car
- What will happen to your pets or personal belongings, such as furniture
- Spousal Maintenance Agreement
- Child Maintenance Agreement
You should always get independent legal advice when entering into a Separation Agreement as it is more likely to be upheld by a judge if you ever need to go to court.
Why make a Separation Agreement?
Separation Agreements are perfect for people who want to end or take a break from their relationship but do not want to (or cannot) get a divorce or civil partnership dissolution. Common reasons you may choose to make a Separation Agreement include:
- You need space to think about whether you want to get a divorce or dissolution and whether you are happy living independently
- You plan to get a divorce or dissolution but you have not been living apart for at least two years. Under the current law, you must rely on one or more “reasons” to end a marriage or civil partnership. Many people do not want to rely on contentious reasons such as “adultery” (available for divorce only) or “unreasonable behaviour” when it is not true. You can also get a divorce or dissolution if you have been separated for at least two years. Therefore, a Separation Agreement may be the perfect solution to helping you live independently while you wait to get a divorce or dissolution
- You have not been married long enough to get a divorce or dissolution (at least one year) but you are not eligible for an annulment
- It is against your religious or cultural beliefs to get a divorce
Are Separation Agreements legally binding?
Separation Agreements are not automatically legally binding. However, if:
- You have both been honest about your finances
- You both received independent legal advice
It is likely a court will uphold it.
Why choose our family law solicitors?
At Preston Redman, we combine family law expertise with a friendly, welcoming approach. Based in Bournemouth, our clients come to us from across the town as well as nearby Poole and the wider Dorset area.
Our priority is to help you achieve the outcome you need swiftly and cost-effectively. We will tailor our advice thoughtfully to reflect your personal circumstances so we can help you reach a future in which you feel safe, confident and financially secure.
We are members of the Law Society Family Law Advanced Accreditation Scheme and Tim Flower is an accredited specialist of the Family Law Panel. Two of our team, Mark Hensleigh and Helen Davies are members of Resolution, an organisation devoted to promoting amicable family law solutions. Mark is also a qualified mediator, with experience helping individuals negotiate strong, watertight Settlement Agreements under his skilled, temperate guidance.
Preston Redman is independently regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).