Are separation agreements a divorce alternative?

When marriages end, the general view is that it leads to divorce, but one subject connected to this, which barely gets mentioned is separation agreements.

Some may see it as a sensible financial alternative to divorce, and it is worthy of mention as they give a framework for important matters, such as maintenance payments for children and other issues including property and other marital assets.

As family law experts in Lichfield, it is worth mentioning that you may not need to take legal advice when you write one, but, as we will explain, it is sensible to speak to a solicitor.

For instance, you’re entering into what could be a potentially legally-binding agreement, so you need to know whether there are any mitigating factors why you should refuse to sign a separation agreement.

Also, having one is more likely to be legally binding if you and your ex-partner have shown that you have provided full financial disclosure, and both parties have been seen to have taken independent legal advice from a qualified lawyer.

It is especially sensible to take legal advice if your break-up is causing underlying issues, for example, if one party is financially much better off or one believes they are under duress to sign an agreement.

Separation agreements can be applied fast and as they are very flexible, so this gives them additional benefits.  They can be very detailed including issues which the court does not have the power to order, such as repairs on property.

It is worth adding also that the downside is that either partner can request from the court further arrangements at a future date, also they are not to be seen as the final step to ending a marriage. They are instead considered an interim step for couples who no longer live together, but have not commenced divorce proceedings, for their own personal reasons.

So, to make it clear, separation agreements aren’t technically legally enforceable, but remember they do carry weight and so long as you have shown that you have taken independent legal advice, it could be tough to say in court that you should not have to stick to the details agreed in it.

If you wish to know more about separation agreements, or any other family law issues, we at Keelys are happy to help, contact us today.

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