Most commonly, a separation agreement is entered into when a married couple is experiencing difficulties and considering divorce, but does not want an immediate divorce, or neither party is in a position to issue a divorce petition. Under current legislation, a couple can only obtain a divorce decree by consent if they have already been separated for at least two years. However, new legislation is proposed to introduce a "no fault" divorce. The timing of that change in the law remains uncertain.
The main asset of a relationship is often the house where the family lives which may or may not be in joint names, often subject to a mortgage. If one of you is to leave the home - even for a period of "trial separation" - you will want to know:
• Who will pay the mortgage?
• Will the house have to be sold? If so, when?
• Will one of you have to pay maintenance to the other to ensure the expenses of both are covered?
• Will you become entitled to any benefits or tax credits?
• How do you make the arrangements legally binding?
We can advise you on all aspects of the separation, including property rights, interim maintenance and longer-term separation agreements.
We can draft appropriate agreements and ensure that they are legally binding, as far as is possible under current legislation.