For various reasons, some couples do not wish to commence divorce or dissolution proceedings immediately following the breakdown of their relationship. However, they may still wish to resolve their financial arrangements, either on a short or long-term basis.
In such circumstances, the parties can enter into a separation agreement as an alternative to commencing divorce or dissolution proceedings. Our expert family lawyers have a wealth of experience regarding separation agreements for couples who wish to avoid divorce.
A separation agreement usually provides for a divorce or dissolution at some point in the future and, in the interim, records what the parties have agreed regarding their financial arrangements. The agreement can deal with factors such as the sale of the family home, division of the proceeds and payment of maintenance, or can confirm that the parties agree to a full and final settlement.
The benefits of a separation agreement are that the arrangements provided for are usually adhered to by the parties as they have been reached by agreement; it allows both parties to move on financially without having to commence the divorce or dissolution proceedings.
The limitation of a separation agreement is that no splitting of pensions can be implemented until an order is made in the subsequent divorce or dissolution proceedings.
There is a risk that a separation agreement could be overturned in the subsequent divorce or dissolution proceedings. This is because neither party can be prevented from making an application to the court in the proceedings. However, a fair agreement which has been entered into after both parties have received independent legal advice following full disclosure will in most cases be upheld by the court.
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