When you separate from your partner in a marriage or de facto relationship, you are not legally required to do anything official. However, it’s a good idea to get a separation agreement to help make the circumstances clear, especially if you have children or shared assets and don’t have a relationship property agreement.
A separation agreement is the only valid way of dividing relationship property once your relationship ends other than by court order. If you make a separation agreement that meets the right criteria, it can override the provisions of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976.
What is Required in a Separation Agreement?
In order for your separation agreement to be legally binding:
- It must be in writing
- Each party must have independent legal advice (i.e. each must have their own lawyer)
- Both parties must sign it
- Each lawyer must sign and witness it and certify that they have explained the implications of the agreement to their client.
What to Include in a Separation Agreement
Your separation agreement should include:
- The date on which you agreed to separate
- The allocation of debts
- Arrangements regarding the family home
- The division of personal property
- How to deal with shared bank accounts, credit cards, insurance and other assets.
What you include in your separation agreement ultimately depends on the particular circumstances involved in your relationship.
Why Use a Separation Agreement?
A separation agreement is handy for a number of reasons. It can prevent future conflict, as you have a written record of what you and your partner agreed between yourselves. A written agreement can reduce or avoid the time and money that you would otherwise spend on lawyers if such a conflict were to arise.
Conflicts that lead to court proceedings are stressful for everyone involved, especially for children in the relationship. Keeping the relationship amicable after separation is in everyone’s best interests. A separation agreement can help you to maintain the peace.
Lastly, a separation agreement can act as evidence of separation when applying for a dissolution order (divorce) after being separated in a marriage for two or more years.
Contact Our Relationship Property Law Solicitors Today
If you need help with a separation agreement, consult the experts at Carlile Dowling. If you are confused about how long after separation you can claim property, property separation in divorce, or other relationship property entitlements under the Property (Relationships) Act 1976, we can help you.
Our team has provided trusted legal advice for more than 130 years regarding family law, immigration, employment law, commercial law, property law and more. Get in touch today by calling 06 927 8150 or contact us online.