What is a Deed of Separation?
A “Deed of Separation” is a written document used to set out the arrangements between a divorcing or separating couple. It is tailor made to each individual couple and details future arrangements in relation to issues such as finance and property, and child arrangements. For example, it may record that following a couples separation or divorce, the parties children will spend equal time living with each parent or that the family home will be sold and the equity divided 50/50 between the parties.
The use of a Deed of Separation by married couples
Following their separation, some married couples decide that whilst they do not wish to get divorce or that they simply wish to delay their divorce until a later stage, they do however want to sort out their future arrangements in relation to property, finances and their children.
A Deed of Separation is useful in this type of situation, as it allows the couple to record the future arrangements in writing but without the need to issue divorce proceedings or ask a judge to verify the fairness of their arrangements, or seal any agreement between them.
Entering into such a Deed can provide a couple with an “action plan” for their separation and enable both of them to know exactly what the position is in relation to their property, assets, income, liabilities as well as their children. It can be a helpful mechanism for recording each parties intention and preventing any disputes in the future, and can be made legally binding at a later date once divorce proceedings have commenced i.e. by applying to have the terms of the Deed of Separation sealed within a Consent Order.
The use of a Deed of Separation by cohabitants or unmarried couples
Cohabitants and unmarried couples are treated differently to married couples, and unlike divorce proceedings, there are no formal proceedings to be instigated at the end of their relationship. Instead, they just need to try and reach an agreement in relation to the future of any joint property or assets and what will happen in relation any children of the relationship.
A Deed of Separation is helpful for cohabitants and unmarried couples, as in the absence of their ability to get a legally binding Consent Order upon divorce, it allows the couple to record the future arrangements in writing and to see a way forward after their separation.
Whilst the Deed will not be sealed by the Court, it does provide persuasive evidence of a couples intentions, if any dispute arises in the future, or either party seeks to instigate any Court action in relation to property or children matters.
Need further advice and assistance?
If you require any advice in relation to any issues pertaining to this topic or seek assistance in respect of any family law matters, please contact Lorna Barry on 01442 872311 or via email at [email protected].
We offer a range of fixed fee services in relation to divorce and separation, and these are detailed on our website at www.machins.co.uk/individual-services/family-law/fixed-fees