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Should you get a Separation Agreement when a cohabiting relationship ends?

Should you get a Separation Agreement when a cohabiting relationship ends?

When a cohabiting couple separate, it is important to consider entering into a Separation Agreement if you own any joint assets, particularly property.

You may think, “I don’t need anything drawn up, we have talked about it and agreed a way forward” but what if your ex-partner later changes their mind or does not keep to their side of the deal?

What can a Separation Agreement cover?

A Separation Agreement can set out what is to happen in relation to your assets, in as much or as little detail as you like. It can cover property, bank accounts, debts and even pets!

Why is a Separation Agreement so important when it comes to property?

Whether you plan to sell the property you share sometime in the future, straightaway or if one of you intends to buy the other out, a Separation Agreement can lay out the framework in detail.

A Separation Agreement can specify terms as to when the property will be marketed for sale, how the sale proceeds will be divided and who will be responsible for the mortgage and outgoings in the meantime.

If one party then refuses to sell the property when the time comes or does not comply with the terms in the meantime, you have a document that clearly sets out the settlement and can be relied upon if court proceedings become necessary.

A Separation Agreement can also be helpful if the property is going to be sold in the near future, as it can set out exactly how the sale proceeds are to be divided and can be handed to the conveyancing solicitor dealing with the sale.

If one of you is going to buy the other out of the property, a Separation Agreement can specify timescales in which this is to happen including a fall-back provision that the property should be sold if a party does not comply with the deadline. This gives a clear ‘Plan B’ and avoids the need to get back into negotiations if ‘Plan A’ does not work out.

Will the courts uphold a separation agreement?

Although a Separation Agreement can be challenged, it should be upheld by the court provided it has been entered into freely, with full understanding of the terms, making it easier to hold the other party to the agreement than if there is no Separation Agreement.

How we can help

Whether you have already reached an agreement with your ex-partner and simply want this to be drafted into a Separation Agreement, or you would like help to reach a settlement first, our Cohabitation Solicitors are more than happy to help.

We can negotiate the terms of a settlement directly with your ex-partner before drafting this into an Agreement, reducing the stress for you of having to discuss this directly with them.

Get in touch

Wards Solicitors is recommended in the independent Legal 500 guide for 2024 for its outstanding professional service standards and high levels of expertise amongst its lawyers.

Solicitor Chloe King specialises in Separation Agreements and the division of assets after a cohabiting relationship ends.

Please contact Chloe to arrange a free, no obligation 30-minute initial appointment.

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