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Overview of the Separation agreement

Reviewed by Angela Lally of Simpson Sissons & Brooke*

Protect yourself if you and your partner decide to live separately before starting divorce or dissolution proceedings with this separation agreement. This straightforward separation contract contains everything needed to protect both parties through their separation proceedings, ensuring that both comply with the law. It covers periodic payments during the separation, administration of the marital property, division of assets and funds, as well as the status of funds in joint bank accounts.

When to use this separation agreement

Use this this separation agreement:

  • when you and your partner decide to live separately

What it covers

This separation agreement covers:

  • the arrangements for separating to prevent disagreements in the future
  • the groundwork for the consent agreement in the divorce

It may not be legally binding but can be taken into consideration and become binding by the court.

It may be viewed favourably and confirmed by the court if and when the time comes to divorce

What is a separation agreement?

A separation agreement sets out how a separating couple wish to divide their assets. It covers the arrangements for separating and the groundwork for a consent agreement. It includes how assets, such as property, will be divided, who will start divorce proceedings, and how the costs of these proceedings will be divided.

Why do I need a separation agreement?

A separation agreement is not legally necessary when divorcing or dissolving a partnership. However it can be very helpful to come to an agreement on how your assets will be divided, prior to the drafting a consent form. Setting out your decisions using this separation agreement means that you have a formal document to refer back to, and can help to prevent disagreement in the future.

Is this agreement legally binding?

This agreement can be legally binding if the court is satisfied that both parties:

  • entered into this agreement freely
  • without pressure by one side
  • with an adequate knowledge of the situation
  • good legal advice; and
  • no overlooked or unforeseen changes in circumstances.

Do you need to make full disclosure of income, property and financial resources to the other party?

You need to be completely open and honest about your finances. If you are not, this agreement could be challenged by a court and declared void.

Do you need to take legal advice before signing this agreement?

You should take a legal advice before signing this agreement, because anything that you decide to include in this separation agreement may be considered legally binding by a court or have a decisive influence upon the outcome of either party¬ís application for financial remedies. You can always Ask a lawyer for further advice if you are not sure whether you have taken into consideration all of the relevant matters prior to signing this agreement.

Further advice

Ask a lawyer for:

  • if there are children of the marriage or civil partnership
  • if assets are complex
  • for legal advice about entering into this separation agreement

Related documents

If you’re using a Separation agreement, you might need one of the following:

*This does not guarantee that this document is suitable for your circumstances. Ask a lawyer to discuss your specific legal situation.

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Sample Separation agreement

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This document is also sometimes called: Legal separation agreement.