When two spouses separate, they can enter into a separation agreement which allows them to both set out their intentions as to how matters should be dealt with in their separation. The agreement can provide for an immediate separation, maintenance, care of the children and the division of assets.
How is it different to a divorce?
A separation agreement does not end the marriage, if you wish to divorce you will still need to apply for the divorce process. However, it is found that an agreement can be entered into a lot more quickly and cheaply than a divorce and also is a lot more flexible as anything that the two spouses request can be included.
There are two main problems with having an agreement rather than a divorce. The first is that as the agreement is enforced like any other contract it is much more difficult to enforce, rather than an order sealed by court. Not only can it be broken, but it can also never guarantee a final solution. Second, if drawing up an agreement first then setting up the divorce process later, you could be potentially not only wasting time but incurring higher costs.
Things to be covered in an Separation Agreement:
1. Agreement to separate – After this agreement the divorce can then begin to be based on two or five years separation
2. Assets – it can cover how both spouses assets are to be split, who is to live in the house and any outstanding payments to be made
3. Children – it could also include where the children are to live and where contact is to be made