The lack of a formally drawn up legal separation agreement can lead to quarrels over household bills, possessions and how best to deal with joint assets. However much couples trust each other and part on good terms, doubts and problems will inevitably arise. Things get particularly tricky when children are involved, and even if you trust each other as far as finances go the emotionally charged nature of the situation can turn things sour.
Andrew Woolley, Managing Partner of the award winning family law firm, believes that for the wellbeing of children a legal separation agreement is a must for couples in this situation. He said, “While of course marital breakdown and divorce put a huge strain on everyone involved, such times affect children more than anyone else.
“This is why, even if the relationship ends on good terms, a legal separation agreement is a must to ensure consistency for, and the protection of, young children. At the very least anyone experiencing such a breakdown should consult an experienced family lawyer to find out further about the pitfalls of separation.”
A legal separation agreement, also known as a Deed of Separation, records from the start who is to have what and what the parties’ responsibilities are, and can therefore help avoid the need for court proceedings at a later stage. When preparing to draft the separation agreement, each party must produce full and frank financial disclosure, showing documentary evidence of their assets and liabilities.
Each party exchanges this information with the other, and then a discussion takes place – and hopefully an explicit separation agreement can be drawn up. If a couple can agree things between themselves, although family law professionals do need to be involved, their involvement, and so the cost, can be minimal, and this is true of both a legal separation agreement and a divorce.
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