HOW LONG IS A SEPARATION AGREEMENT VALID?
HOW LONG IS A SEPARATION AGREEMENT VALID?

10 June 2020

Many people ask for how long a separation agreement is valid? The starting point is the purpose of the agreement which generally is when two people separate and if the separation is to be or becomes permanent, they are able to agree in advance what will happen on a divorce settlement.

This is often useful when neither party has grounds for a divorce such as adultery or behaviour and they intend to use the grounds of two years separation and there after a divorce by consent.

It may be that with the government’s proposed changes to divorce legislation (reducing the time to six months) separation agreements will become more rare but for now they usually  cover the two year gap and can be used to regulate not only arrangements for children (where necessary) but most importantly the finances.

Disadvantages of a separation agreement

A disadvantage is that a separation agreement cannot share or divide pensions and now that pensions are a more common financial investment, it may be that for many people a separation agreement does not do the job. But of course, it can be agreed that in the event of a divorce, pensions will be divided equally either by way of capital or by way of equality of income.

What is a legal separation?

Many people also ask what is a legal separation to which my response is that you cannot have an illegal separation, but a legal separation is where the separation has been independently documented and ideally the terms of the separation have been recorded in a written separation agreement.

Financial disclosure

It is fundamental to any agreement that proper financial disclosure has taken place because although the parties may have both taken independent legal advice, a separation agreement is subject to the approval of the divorce court before it is absolutely final and binding.

Therefore, it follows that if there is a substantial change between the signing of the agreement and the lodging of an agreed order with a divorce court, a  judge may still say the agreement is not approved because it is not fair. However, if both sides have taken independent legal advice and there has been proper disclosure this would be the exception to the rule.

Agreements can also be used by unmarried people to regulate the arrangements for their children and financial and property arrangements, although presently there is no provision for pensions to be shared between partners who are not married or in a civil partnership.

We Are Here To Help

If you would like to discuss this or any other family legal matters, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Howard Gardener who is a Solicitor working in the Family Law team at Phillips Solicitors incorporating Brain Chase Coles by calling 01256 854632 or by emailing [email protected]

Alternatively click here to go to our contact page.

During these difficult times our Town Gate office in Basingstoke is temporarily closed to visitors unless by prior appointment when meeting in person is essential. However, thanks to our lawyers being able to work remotely, Phillips remains fully open for business and can discuss your legal matters by telephone and video conference.

 

Disclaimer

This article is current at the date of publication set out above and is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.

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