Separating and Separation Agreements
There are times when married couples or civil partners do not necessarily want to divorce or end their civil partnership straight away for a variety of reasons. Instead they acknowledge that their relationship is over and wish to have in place a formal agreement to record any settlement they reach regarding the division of their assets and income. It is important to seek independent legal advice before you decide to divide assets such as selling a property, cashing in an endowment or withdrawing monies from a savings account. It is far better for separating couples to reach a fair agreement with the assistance of lawyers, rather than to have the terms of the division of their assets to be dictated to them by the court. Not only can they save on expensive legal costs by avoiding lengthy litigation but the outcome will be far more positive if the couples achieve an agreement which they have negotiated themselves.
A Separation Agreement is a very good way to record the parties’ intentions of how they wish to divide their assets and income. However, such an agreement is not necessarily legally binding or enforceable by the court until such a time as the parties officially end their marriage or civil partnership. For a Separation Agreement to carry weight before a court, a Judge will consider all of the parties’ circumstances of the case. These will include:
- Whether the parties have taken independent legal advice on the terms of the agreement so that they understand the implications of the agreement and what they are entering into.
- Whether the parties have exchanged evidence of their financial assets.
- Whether the agreement reached between the parties is fair and reasonable. It must be within the parameters of what a court would order.
If the parties have followed these rules then the Separation Agreement is likely to carry weight with the court upon divorce proceedings. However, there are circumstances when a court may decide against upholding the agreement. For instance, if the parties’ circumstances have changed in an important and unforeseen way, such as a property or business significantly increasing/decreasing in value or a party has suffered an accident or illness.
Both Oi-Yuyn Wong and Oi-Yuyn Wong can offer advice and assistance on any aspect of separation and Separation Agreements. Mediation may also benefit parties to reach an agreement.
For a further discussion of the services we provide, please contact either Oi-Yuyn by telephone on 01329 232314 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org