Separation Agreements Solicitors
A Separation Agreement is made where a couple want to separate but are not fully committed to divorce, or the dissolution of a civil partnership, or where an unmarried couple wish to separate. Although not legal binding, a Separation Agreement formalises decisions made at the point of separation surrounding children, property, money, and any other financial assets.
At Rowlinsons our solicitors are experts in advising clients on Separation Agreements. It is vital you appreciate the terms of the agreement being made, so we will help you understand all options.
Our team possesses a wealth of experience and knowledge to help you consider all the facets and factors if you choose to separate from your partner. We are ideally positioned to best advise you individually on separation.
We can guide you through the entire process and we can draft a Separation Agreement considerate to your needs. We are committed to using clear language as part of our pragmatic approach, ensuring you understand the entire legal framework surrounding your existing relationship, and what your new independent relationship may look like.
We are members of Resolution and with our Head of Family Law being an accredited Resolution Specialist, you can trust our ability and approach to find the fairest solution for you and all concerned.
At Rowlinsons we always take a solution-focused approach to ensure our clients' best interests are met. Our team is made up of genuinely good people with considerable expertise, who will work intelligently, sensitively, and supportively to build a strong relationship with you, guiding you through this period of change.
We are proud members of the Law Society's Family Law accreditation scheme, and our team comprises an accredited family law mediator and trained Collaborative Lawyer. Our depth of specialist training and knowledge guarantees that you should only expect the best advice and support.
Call our team today if you are thinking about a formal separation and want to discuss your rights and options.
What is a separation agreement?
The main aim of a Separation Agreement is to set the arrangements between the separating couple related to money, children, and property.
Some couples choose to take things slow and get a Separation Agreement instead of immediately opting for divorce. Some couples choose to break up, knowing they will remain married indefinitely, some couples can even choose to continue living in the same property once separated.
Like many things, relationships between two people can take many shapes and forms, and therefore a Separation Agreement must be unique and bespoke to your exact needs.
Our team is dedicated to providing you with the best guidance, while handling all the legal procedures to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
The separation agreement can include the following crucial factors:
- Date of separation.
- Future decisions regarding divorce or dissolution.
- Contributions to rent, mortgage, household bills, and the sale of the home.
- Mutual debts.
- Handling finances from the sale of a property, pension, and joint bank accounts.
- Decision-making regarding assets and pets.
- Maintenance of children.
- Time each parent will spend with their children.
- Potential updates, reviews, or changes to the agreement in the future to avoid conflict.
Our goal is always to provide our clients with a clear, practical solution that meets their unique needs and protects their interests.
What are the main focuses in a family separation agreement?
The three key areas of focus for a Separation Agreement are property, children, and finances. A Separation Agreement is designed to establish a framework for the newly separated relationship, thus helping avoid any disputes between parties in the future.
When it comes to a property a couple has bought or rented together, the agreement should cover the following aspects:
- The future of the property, whether it will be sold or kept.
- The share of each party in the event of a sale
- The procedure in case of death of a party
- Distribution of assets and possessions
For the well-being of the children, the agreement should include arrangements for:
- Living conditions
- Time spent with each parent.
- Holiday arrangements
- Tax credits and benefits
- Maintenance payments
It is naturally crucial to carefully consider all the factors concerning your children.
Financial stability is essential, and it can often be overlooked in the process. The agreement should cover:
- Loans, credit cards, and utility bills
- Property and maintenance costs
- Medical and school fees
- Mortgage or rent
- Maintenance payments and their distribution
- Payment process
By covering these three main aspects, the Separation Agreement ensures that both parties are protected and have a clear understanding of the future.
What are the situations when a Separation Agreement is necessary?
Married Couples Separating
If you are married but have not started divorce proceedings, but still wish to separate, even if you do not wish to divorce at all, a Separation Agreement can serve as a precautionary measure. Our solicitors will help you draft a Separation Agreement to set out the terms of your new relationship, or to be prepared in case you decide to divorce in the future or not.
If you have a Separation Agreement, it can assist you in moving forward with the legal process of divorce or dissolution. Our expert family lawyers can ensure the agreement is drafted carefully and accurately with mutual consent, thus helping to ensure possible future court proceedings consider the terms of the Separation Agreement very closely.
Some separated couples may wish to remain married but live more independently of one another. This could be for family reasons (including cultural or religious reasons), but a Separation Agreement can be of great help in providing a platform on which the new relationship (in its new status) can still flourish for both parties.
Separation for Unmarried Couples
For couples who are not married but wish to separate, a Separation Agreement can provide significant benefits in managing finances and assets.
In the eyes of the law, unmarried couples who live together are known as ‘cohabiting couples’. The law views cohabiting couples very differently to those joined by marriage or civil partnership.
A valid Separation Agreement often proves highly beneficial to cohabiting couples, especially where the couple have been together for a long time and the lines between assets belonging to each individual have become blurred, or of course when children are involved.
Even when both sides of the relationship amicably consent to the break-up, a Separation Agreement can allow for mutual decisions to be reached, making things fair and removing the potential for disputes.
Separating but living in the same house
If you and your partner wish to separate, but also wish to continue living together in the same property, we can help advise on how best to continue to live in the same house but also to preserve separate ‘households’.
For separating couples who choose to continue to live in the same property, the way in which separate households are established and maintained, can carry implications for the future, should the relationship change further in the future, for example, if one partner chooses divorce at a future point.
To be considered legally separated, it is necessary to maintain separate households. To do so, it is advisable to avoid activities such as
- sharing a bedroom
- cooking and eating together
- Sharing groceries
- doing laundry together
- going out together.
What if my partner disputes the Separation Agreement in the future?
Separation Agreements are not legally binding, but if the agreement has been reasonably made with mutual understanding and consent, with both parties benefiting from individual legal advice, and with full transparency (on both sides) regarding finances and assets, then the Courts would be generally expected to uphold its terms.
There could be a number of reasons why one party of a separated couple feels the terms of the Separation Agreement are no longer fair or should be contested. The most common reason tends to be where there is a belief that one party was not completely transparent with regards to finances.
If you or your partner wish to dispute the terms of a Separation Agreement, then it is likely that court proceedings will be needed to show why one party feels they should not have to live by the terms of the agreement.
Rowlinsons Solicitors have great experience in helping clients identify and uncover financial assets that one partner may be trying to hide. We work with a range of partners to ensure our clients have access to forensic accountancy services to help unearth undisclosed assets.
Why Choose Rowlinsons Solicitors for Separation Agreements?
Our Family Law Solicitors are widely recognised throughout Cheshire as experts in our field. Collectively, our team proudly holds a wide variety of specialist qualifications, accreditations and memberships, all signalling our significant expertise in helping clients traverse the challenges of separation and all that goes with it.
As experts in Family Mediation and Collaborative Law we always strive to foster amicable non-court settlements for separating couples, providing a foundation for all parties to move forward.
You can always expect the best advice and representation from our people:
- We will inform you of all your options to help you to decide the best course of action.
- We will help you consider what may happen in the future.
- You will always understand our pricing structure and we can agree on fixed costs for drafting a Separation Agreement
- You will always have direct contact with the lawyer who acts for you.
- We always act ethically and constructively with integrity on your behalf.
- We are accredited by the Law Society for Family Law.