For some couples, legal separation may be an alternative to divorce or an interim step to allow time to decide if they want to end their marriage or civil partnership. We can advise on separation agreements, also known as a deed of separation.

What is legal separation?

Legal separation recognises that a couple are no longer living together and enables them to put in place some formal agreements about issues such as finances and child arrangements, although they remain legally married. It can be suitable for people who are not yet sure if they want to divore but need some time apart, for those who do not wish to divorce for religious or cultural reasons, and for those who have been married for less than a year.

It’s a good idea to get specialist advice if you are considering a legal separation, so that you fully understand the implications and what rights you and your spouse will have.

What is a separation agreement?

A deed of separation, or separation agreement, is a contract that may be suitable for those entering into a trial separation or who want to separate but don’t yet want to divorce. It can be used to set out arrangements for finances, property, and children and reduce the chance of disputes in the future.

Deeds of separation are not legally binding under family law, but an agreement may be enforceable as long as it complies with contract law. It may also be used as evidence of your intentions during any future divorce proceedings.

Can cohabiting couples get a separation agreement?

Couples who aren’t married don’t need to apply for a legal separation if they split up, but they can use a separation agreement to set out arrangements for any children or shared property and finances. It is important to remember that it will only be legally enforceable as a contract if it complies with contract law.

Contact us to discuss your case with a member of our separation and divorce team.

The Team
Amy Jeffery
Amy Jeffery

Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives

Anita Laws
Anita Laws

Chartered Legal Executive

Mark Fairchild
Mark Fairchild


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