In many circumstances, couples may separate however not wish to commence divorce proceedings. In this case a correctly legally drafted separation deed may be the perfect solution.
Married couples may decide between themselves to separate however they are not under a legal obligation to inform any legal professional they are no longer together. Separation agreements are a much less formal approach than divorce and often provide effective ways of regulating the financial arrangements that need to be determined following a breakdown of a marriage.
Separation agreements can include some or all of the following types of matters:
- Division of property, assets, savings etc
- Decisions who will live in the former matrimonial home or other property
- Who will be responsible for the payment of bills, debts etc
- Payment of maintenance to either spouse or children
- Decisions about family businesses/Partnerships and transfer of shareholdings
- Other children’s provisions, including the payment of school or tertiary fees
The court will ensure that both parties have had independent legal advice or have been advised of their opportunity to take it and then would make sure that both parties have provided full and frank disclosure of all of their financial information before considering whether or not to uphold an agreement in court proceedings for divorce.
The court may decide not to uphold an agreement if they consider that circumstances between the parties have changed. For example if one party has acted to their detriment.
It is highly recommended to ensure any document is correctly drafted to ensure it is legally binding and will be accepted by the court should proceedings for divorce occur at a later stage.