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How separation agreements work

Here we look at some of the most common questions we are asked – if your question isn’t answered here, call our friendly team for a confidential discussion – 01302 320621.
How do separation agreements work in the UK?
A separation agreement does not require a court order and may be useful for couples requiring ‘time out’ for each other whilst they consider their next step.
A separation order, known as Judicial Separation, is, in essence, a legal separation. It is for married couples or people in a civil partnership who would like to be legally separated (live apart) without getting a divorce or dissolution of Civil Partnership.
What is the difference between a legal (judicial) separation and a divorce?
Judicial separations are relatively rare in the UK and usually used if:

You have religious reasons against divorce
You have been married for less than a year
You want time and space to work out if you want to end the marriage

A divorce is for when the marriage is irretrievably broken down.
What is in a Separation Agreement?A separation agreement requires a legal agreement to be drawn up between the two parties. It covers all aspects of both parties’ lives together, ranging from who will live at the house and who will move out, or whether the house will be sold, and how any assets are divided, to who will take the children to school.
In summary, it can be as wide-ranging or as brief as the parties want it to be, provided it follows certain guidelines. Provided it follows those guidelines, if a court is asked to look at it afterwards, the court would be reluctant not to enforce it.
What if we get back together?Yes, a couple can still get back together after either a Judicial Separation or a separation agreement.
How do I protect my future assets in the event we divorce?A legal agreement is the best way of safeguarding this, but it must meet the guidelines issued by the courts or it will be of little use, which is why it is important to seek legal advice from a qualified family lawyer who can advise you accordingly.

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