What is a separation agreement and when should I use one?

There are a few scenarios where a separation agreement might be useful.

Firstly, if you and your partner decide you might want to take a break from the relationship and live separately. This is known as a trial separation, and gives you both a chance to move on with your lives and finances separated, but without fully committing to divorce or dissolution, in case you change your minds later.

Secondly, you might get a separation agreement because you cannot get a divorce or dissolution yet, but still want to separate. The most likely circumstance here is that you do not have ‘grounds for divorce’ yet. In the UK, there are five grounds for divorce, and at least one of them must apply for you to legally apply for divorce. The five grounds are adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, living apart for at least two years, and living apart for at least five years. If none of the first three apply, then a separation agreement would allow you to live apart and apply for divorce on one of the last two grounds (after two years you can apply for divorce if you both agree, after five years you can apply for divorce without your spouse’s consent). As previously mentioned, this will change in April 2022, when couples will no longer have to cite blame when they divorce.

It is not strictly necessary to get a separation agreement to get a divorce, no matter which grounds you are applying on – it mainly just provides a guideline to make the separation process simpler.

Thirdly, you might simply want to separate from your spouse but remain legally married for the time being.

Author: wpadmin

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