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What is a separation agreement?
When a relationship ends and partners go their own ways, there can be a great deal of uncertainty as to who will pay previously joint bills, how possessions and assets will be split, and who will look after the children.
For married couples, an agreement like this one (sometimes called a deed of separation) provides certainty as to how each person will live while a divorce is being settled.
It is also suitable for:
- couples who are separating having not married, and for
- couples looking to end a civil partnership or same sex union.
This document provides both parties with a degree of protection and certainty in what would otherwise be a very uncertain time.
You should note that no separation agreement is binding in law in the same way that a commercial contract would be. A judge can still change the terms, whether your agreement is based on our template or is written for you by your solicitor. We explain in more detail further down this page.
Why use a written agreement
There are a number of reasons to use a written deed of separation:
Prevent future arguments
Recording what you agree in writing creates evidence of what you intended to happen when you split up. Once he or she has signed a formal agreement, it is more difficult for your partner to argue that he or she did not agree to something.
Save time and money on solicitors
Solicitors can be good negotiators and can offer good advice on entitlements, but there is nothing in this type of document that requires legal knowledge or a solicitor. This separation agreement achieves much the same as a solicitor would do for you after a few meetings.
Unless you want a solicitor for another reason, you can save time and money by completing this separation agreement template yourself instead of asking him or her to do it for you at a high hourly cost.
It could form the basis of a consent order in divorce
If you can demonstrate that the agreement has worked well for a period of time, a judge could let it form the basis of a consent agreement in divorce proceedings.
Keep the relationship amicable
Court proceedings inevitably become acrimonious. There is a much greater chance of keeping your future relationship friendly (and agreeing a split that suits both parties, keeping joint friends and making access to children easier) if you can work out together the details of the separation before you reach a court. A deed of separation can make divorce process easier, faster and less stressful because many of the difficult things have been agreed already.
A separation agreement is not binding in the same way as a commercial contract. The Court still has a complete discretion to make a consent order in different terms to any previous agreement.
However, when or if you do have to go to court, it is likely that the judge will make an order (which will be binding of course) in the terms of your agreement provided:
- the agreement is fair;
- you both worked on the agreement without pressure and entered into it freely;
- you both had adequate knowledge of the situation;
- there have been no overlooked or unforeseen changes in circumstances since it was signed;
- it covers all your assets after full disclosure.
The extent to which a judge will stay with the agreement reflects the level of his acceptance of the above three points.
If one of you is in breach of the deed of separation and the other goes to court to enforce it, the judge will make an assessment as described above and will enforce the agreement to the extent that he feels is right.
We have an excellent article explaining why and when to use a agreement to record your separation.
Note: children arrangements have no legal standing at all. The court will take no account of what you have agreed but will start afresh in considering the interest of each child. Of course, if a satisfactory arrangement is in place, it is likely that he will order that the arrangement should remain undisturbed. It is always worth making arrangements for your children because it is bound to be in their interests to have a secure and firm framework for their lives.
Completing the template yourself
This straightforward separation contract and easy to complete. You don't need to involve solicitors or go to court.
First, you should discuss at a high level what you both want before starting dviorce or dissolution proceedings.
Next, you should each draw up a list of assets. This deed of separation provides for detailed disclosure, but we have no way of knowing every category of thing you might own. We therefore suggest that you consider careful what other assets you might have and make sure they are disclosed and accounted for.
You may need to instruct experts (such as an accountant and/or a surveyor) to value financial and physical joint assets.
For more information read our article on what your agreement should include.
This template provides for you to set down your exact arrangements for your children. Although not binding on the Court, your written agreement together will reduce the risk of future disagreement, as will all other aspects of your lives.
The agreement is made once it has been signed by both parties. You do not need to involve a solicitor or any third party, nor do you need to register the document anywhere. There are no additional fees to pay.
The separation agreement template includes paragraphs that cover:
- Details of the parties, including the separation date
- Details of any children, if applicable
- Arrangements for the disposal of the house by sale, or
- An option for one party to keep the matrimonial home and be bought out by the other
- Payment of outgoings such as bills and other expenses – who will pay
- Division of assets and funds, and other personal possessions and household property
- Assignment of insurance policies (you may additionally need: a deed of assignment for a life insurance or endowment policy)
- Division of business property
- Maintenance (periodic) payments for the spouse and any children
- Lump sum payments
- Conclusion of joint accounts
- Option for the parties to agree to petition for a divorce after two years separation
- Child maintenance arrangements
- Parental rights arrangements
This document was written by a solicitor for Net Lawman. It complies with current English law.
What other customers thought
Average customer rating
By Abby Paterson Houston 12 March 2017
I found the document easy to use and understand just a pity the notes were at the end of the document and not before.
My husband didn't want lawyers involved but I needed confirmation of what I expected from our separation your document provided that.yes I would recommend Net Lawman to others.
By Hayley Emma June Day 25 August 2016
Self explaining document ; easy format. Quick and accurate service.
By David Lamerton 24 July 2015
I found the service to be excellent with them responding very promptly to any questions. The document was clear and very easy to use.
I would recommend them to anyone that needed this kind of service.
By Mohamad Nateqi 23 March 2015
This documen is absolutely brilliant I could highly recommend for everyone
By Helen Carter 03 March 2015
No improvement needed, your site explained the actual document we needed for our situation. It was easy to understand and edit and the more complicated parts/options were explained.
By Julie Taylor-Brown 08 September 2014
This agreement saved me a lot of time and money. You are able to edit anything else you require, and delete all you don't.
By Rebecca Scott 20 August 2014
The document was fair and gave excellent clear advice.
By Alan Sarll 28 June 2014
Prompt delivery and a fair price for documents that were easy to read and helpfully annotated.
By Sarah Mott 17 June 2014
Excellent service, easy to use and quick to download, would recommend to others.
By Carol Molyneux 19 November 2013
I received the document straight away and the help and guidance was excellent. I bought from you because you were competitive and the form was easy to fill out.
I contacted you through email with some questions that I needed answering and you answered them truthfully and very quickly. I would definitely use you again and recommend you to other people because you do as you say.
By David Golding 15 June 2013
I am very pleased with the document. When completed according to our personal needs it will provide a sound basis for an agreeable solution. Also the comprehensive amount of information provides for a complete understanding of what needs to be considered before any decision is made.The attraction to Net Lawman is the website presentation. This makes it quite easy to understand what is needed, and how it can be used.
By Louise Percival 11 March 2016
It was a blessing to find a document like this and reassuring that it would hold legal status if required.
Meant we could sort things out amicably without needing to pay out thousands to solicitors. I would most certainly recommend the service to others..
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