Not all couples who separate will want a divorce. Some will prefer a legal separation instead – this may be appropriate where a divorce would not be palatable for religious reasons.

A legal separation (sometimes called a judicial separation) allows a couple to live apart without divorcing or ending a civil partnership. However, like a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, a legal separation means that the court may exercise its power to divide your financial assets (except for pensions). This may be particularly suited to an older couple who want to preserve the pension provision between them.

Separation Agreements

If you have not yet decided whether you want to end your marriage or civil partnership, you can enter into a separation agreement instead. This is a written agreement that can cover a range of areas such as what happens to the family home and who continues to live there, who pays the mortgage and other outgoings and what the arrangements for the children should be.

You can have a separation agreement recording the terms of your financial arrangements where you have separated but have not yet taken divorce proceedings or started off the process of ending your civil partnership.  Be warned that such financial arrangements will be considered by a Court if and when you seek a financial order from the Court.

What to include in a Separation Agreement?

  • Division of the assets that you have between you (including property, savings, investments, loans, and credit cards) and how debts should be paid
  • Spousal maintenance (financial support from one spouse to the other)
  • Child maintenance (financial support for any children)
  • Sharing of joint accounts and bills
  • Who will continue to live in the family home during the separation period
  • Arrangements for moving out and dividing household items
  • Responsibility for ongoing mortgage/rent payments and property maintenance
  • Child arrangements (who the children will live with and spend time with)
  • Education and healthcare decisions
  • Holiday and travel arrangements
  • Date the agreement comes into effect
  • Review mechanisms for changing the agreement if circumstances change
  • Confidentiality clauses
  • Dispute resolution procedures i.e. how to settle your differences

For further information on the issues raised, please contact Gorkem Ozsoy at:

Branch Austin McCormick LLP
32 St James’s Street