When a relationship breaks down there are a number of reasons why a divorce may not be the preferred way forward. It is possible for spouses simply to live apart or, if they want the arrangement to be more formal, one party to apply to the Court for a judicial separation. Whatever parties decide to do, it is important that various issues such as children and finances are properly dealt with. Whether you are married or not, it is important that any arrangements or agreements that are made are properly recorded in a legally binding way, so the possibility of any dispute in the future is greatly reduced or removed altogether.
Whether you have been married or simply living together, this is a complex area of law and it is in your best interests to contact our family team for specific advice about your particular situation.
A separation agreement is a formal written contract entered into by a couple who wish to record the terms of an agreement that they have reached, usually outlining the financial consequences of their decision to separate but it can also deal with any other matters that need to be recorded. A separation agreement can save a considerable amount of money in wasted legal fees as well as avoiding the stress and uncertainty of a Court battle.
Whilst you can never agree with your spouse or partner to exclude the involvement of the Court, such agreements are normally upheld by the Courts, unless there are good legal reasons for not doing so. Where the terms of the agreement seem to favour one side against the other, it is important for both parties to obtain independent legal advice to avoid a claim by one party that they were under pressure to sign it or did not properly understand what it meant.
If a married couple wish to have a formal legal separation but do not wish to go as far as a divorce then they have the option of obtaining a decree of judicial separation. This is similar to a divorce but with important legal differences – for example pensions can only be dealt with in a very limited way.
Why choose us?
Our experienced family team will be pleased to discuss these options and help decide what is right for you.
Please get in touch:
Email: FamilyLaw@gilbertstephens.co.uk or contact one of our team.