A couple whose marriage has broken down should always be advised of the advantages of agreeing to a separation agreement to work out an acceptable agreement concerning the children, maintenance and property. Of course these types of agreements are not for everyone and both parties must be willing to compromise on some matters. However if the parties agree to separate the details can be worked out through mediation or through Solicitors and a Deed of Separation can be drawn up and if accepted by both parties, signed and witnessed. The outcome is a legal contract between the parties.
When children are involved it is always important to explore the possibility of a Deed of Separation as the parties have the chance to avoid the stress and expense of going to Court. In my experience the idea of going to Court to deal with the breakdown of your marriage is very stressful. Separation agreements can avoid this.
A Separation Agreement will have a number of clauses and is a legal written contract between a husband and a wife setting out their future rights and duties. The agreement can deal with the following issues and can give clarity to people separating:
- Contributions to school expenses/medical bills etc.
- Access including weekend access and holidays
- Division/sale of family home
- Non-molestation clause ( restraining one party from bothering another)
- Spouses inheritance rights
The above are some of the main issues that can be included in a Separation Agreement. It is important to note the issue of pensions is something that would have to be dealt with at a later date if the parties were getting a Judicial Separation or a Divorce.
A Deed of Separation can be a very useful option as it regulates matters for a couple whose marriage has broken down until such time as they decide to Divorce at a later stage.
It is however very important that each party is represented independently in order that the interests of husband and wife are protected.
by Maurice O’Connor Solicitor