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A Guide To Separation Agreements UK

What is a Separation Agreement?

Separation Agreements set out how you’ll split your finances when you end your relationship and stop living together as a couple. You can have a Separation Agreement whether you are ending a marriage (before you divorce), a civil partnership or cohabiting relationship. The agreement sets out things like who will pay the rent or mortgage, which bills you will each pay, whether one person will pay any child or spousal maintenance and what will happen to the proceeds of sale if a property or asset is sold.

When would I need a Separation Agreement?

  • If are not ready to divorce but want to document how your finances will be split / managed
  • If you're relationship ends when you’re cohabiting

Are Separation Agreements legally binding?

A Separation Agreement isn’t technically legally binding, but it is a contract so can be upheld or challenged in court. The agreement must be entered into voluntarily and you must have completed a full financial disclosure if you are relying on a Separation Agreement in court. You can also have your Separation Agreement turned into a Consent Order by the court when you divorce/end your civil partnership if it’s been correctly drawn up.

How much does it cost to get a Separation Agreement?

It depends on which route you choose. For example, the guideline hourly rate for a solicitor/lawyer with around four years’ experience nationally is between £177 - £192 per hour excluding VAT. In London, this rises to between £172 and £296 per hour exc VAT. It then depends on how much time you’ll need.

amicable’s offers a Fixed Price Separation Agreement Service for £900 per couple / £450 per person. This service is for couples who want to document how their finances will be separated.

How do I enforce a Separation Agreement?

As mentioned above, Separation Agreements aren’t technically legally binding. If you would like your financial agreement to be made legally binding and enforceable then read below:

  1. For married couples / couples in a civil partnership

Get a consent order, which is the legally binding document that will formalise your financial arrangements through the courts and end the possibility of future claims. You will need to be at Decree Nisi stage before you can submit your financial arrangements to the court (which is around halfway through the divorce / dissolution process).

  1. For cohabiting couples

In England and Wales, there is no legal documentation available yet that will make your financial split legally binding.