Separation Agreements

If you have separated from your partner but are not ready or do not wish to start divorce proceedings, a separation agreement is a way of formally setting out arrangements for finances, property and childcare.

Our separation agreement solicitors advise separating couples across the UK from our offices in Bedminster, Bishopston, Bristol city centre, Kingswood and Thornbury.

What is a separation agreement?

A separation agreement includes details of how you and your ex-partner (married or not) wish to divide your finances, who the children will live or spend time with, and what happens to the family home.

A separation agreement, also known as a financial separation agreement or deed of separation, not only helps separating couples to have a clear plan of action but also provides reassurance and security in the absence of a divorce.

Separation agreements are beneficial because they take into account shared responsibilities you had when you were living with your ex-partner, such as bills and mortgage payments, and parental responsibilities. If you have been together for a while, you likely had plans (financial or otherwise) for the future, such as school or university fees.

A legal separation agreement can include all of this and determine the next steps, such as selling the family home and how that revenue will be split, and how parental responsibilities will be split.

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Is a separation agreement legally binding?

A separation agreement is not always legally binding; however, it will be considered in court should you decide to divorce in the future.

If a solicitor has prepared the separation agreement, and both parties have had legal advice and the opportunity to consider it properly, and if it is fair/meets the needs of the parties, the court is more likely to agree that it should be taken into account in any divorce settlement.

What if we jointly own a property?

If you are not married and you and/or your ex-partner own a property, you can ask the court to determine what each of your shares is in the property and whether (and how) it should be sold under TOLATA (Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996).

Our separation solicitors can advise you on your legal position in the first instance and include this in your settlement agreement.

Separation agreement FAQs

A divorce legally ends a marriage, whereas a separation means you have separated and agreed to end your marriage or relationship, but there is no formal termination, as such.

It’s important to remember that a separation agreement does not end the marriage; it simply sets out the terms and arrangements that you have both agreed to.

Many couples decide to separate in the first instance, before going down the route of formally ending a relationship with a divorce. This is for many reasons and the cost is often the main factor; whether the cost of a divorce itself or because couples can’t afford to ‘officially’ separate households.

Separation can be a good interim measure when you decide to end your marriage, however, it is important to remember that, until you divorce, your financial responsibilities remain connected. Some couples therefore wish to legally end the relationship as soon as possible with a divorce because they want to formally ‘cut ties’.

Whatever you decide, you and your ex-partner will still need to make decisions regarding finances, property and parental responsibilities. If you decide to separate, it is important to have an experienced separation agreement lawyer draw up a separation agreement that formally sets out how you want to divide these aspects of your relationship. Although it is not legally binding, a separation agreement will help you to plan for the future and you can even think of it as an interim agreement should you decide to divorce in the future as it can be mirrored in your divorce financial settlement.

If you are considering a separation agreement, our experienced separation solicitors can provide advice tailored to your circumstances. However, generally speaking, a separation agreement includes:

  • The amount you and your ex-partner will contribute towards the mortgage/rent and household bills until you can sell the family home;
  • How joint debt will be split;
  • How the proceeds from your family home’s sale will be split;
  • What happens to pensions, joint bank accounts and credit card debt;
  • What will happen to any shared assets such as cars, furniture and even pets;
  • Who the children will live with and how much time they will spend with each parent;
  • Any maintenance needed to support each parent and child.

This depends on what needs to be included in the separation agreement. Sometimes they can be very long and cover all sorts of things, or they can be more straightforward, so the cost will vary accordingly.

It also depends on whether the terms are agreed or if there is any dispute or disagreement as to the terms.

In some cases, our solicitors can offer a fixed-fee option to cover the cost of a separation agreement.

Our separation agreements solicitors will always discuss the availability of fixed fees with you, where appropriate. Call us on 0117 325 2929 to make an appointment.

Once both parties have signed a separation agreement, it is difficult for either party to overturn, change or dispute it, unless you both agree to it. It is also unlikely for the family court to overturn a separation agreement, however, they might not uphold it if it was written without seeking legal advice or if either party did not fully and honestly disclose their financial situation.

Once you and your ex-partner have decided to separate, please get in touch with our specialist separation agreement solicitors. We will discuss your circumstances, take details of your wishes and advise you on what to include in your separation agreement.

Normally, your solicitor will formally draft the agreement on your behalf and ask that both parties read and sign it to make it final after your ex-partner has taken independent legal advice. You will both receive a copy, but it will not be filed anywhere unless you decide in the future to apply for a Consent Order.

The length of time varies, depending on what asset/s you wish to include and their value. Our professional separation agreements solicitors will advise you on estimated timescales during your first meeting.

How our separation agreement solicitors in Bristol can help

If you and your ex-partner have decided to separate, get in touch. Our specialist separation agreement solicitors advise separating couples across the UK from our five offices in Bedminster, Bishopston, Bristol city centre, Kingswood and Thornbury.

Call us on 0117 325 2929 or fill out our online enquiry form. Alternatively, get started immediately here.


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