Does the Separation Agreement need to be drafted in a specific way?
It is highly recommended that both parties obtain independent legal advice and help to draft the terms of a Separation Agreement. Whilst you do not need to take legal advice when you put together the terms of a Separation Agreement, there are several reasons why drafting your own agreement may be in the longer-term a false economy:
- Whilst not automatically legally-binding, a Separation Agreement is an intention for you both to enter into a legally-binding agreement which may in time be held to be fair and so capable of being made into a binding order between you, which can then be enforced,
- You can get advice about whether there are any good reasons why you should not sign the Separation Agreement before you go ahead if it is considered that full and frank financial disclosure has not been provided or that then the proposed arrangements is such that it is not fair and appropriate to the circumstances of your case,
- Any Separation Agreement is more likely to be legally binding if you and your ex-partner have provided full financial disclosure and you have both taken independent legal advice from a solicitor.
It is especially important to take legal advice if your break-up is acrimonious, if one of you is much wealthier than the other or if your ex-partner is bullying or intimidating and puts you under pressure to sign an agreement.
If you and your ex-partner have already decided and agreed what you would like to include in your Separation Agreement, then at Prism Family Law we can discuss with you whether the proposed terms are fair and appropriate to the circumstances of your case and we can advise you then on how best to record any agreement in writing.
Clearly, given the high risk of a conflict of interest between the parties, you can’t both use the same lawyer to draft a Separation Agreement and so you will both require independent advice and help upon the terms of any agreement.
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