Quite often when couples separate, Divorce is the last thing on your minds.
You and your ex-partner may wish to give priority to agreeing the arrangements for your children first and then the terms of a financial settlement. Meditation can help you both to agree terms in a confidential and safe setting with guidance and support of a neutral and impartial third-party, the mediator – me!
If you wish to formalise arrangements and terms agreed, I would recommend that you enter into a contract, known as a ‘Deed of Separation or Separation Agreement’. Your solicitor will help you in the legal drafting of the document and with the benefit of independent legal advice and upon the basis that you have both been open and honest with each other with regard to your financial positions in the mediation process, you and your ex-partner will be required to sign up to the Agreement.
It is not unusual for separating couples to state in the Deed of Separation that after a 2 year period of separation, either one of them will file for Divorce on the grounds of 2 years separation with consent. You may also confirm in the Deed that the terms of your financial settlement, should be put into a financial Consent Order at the time of the Divorce to be presented to a District Judge for his/her approval to allow for finality.
However, please note that a Deed of Separation/Separation Agreement is not binding upon the Court . You and your ex-partner must be aware that if during the Divorce process, one of you wishes to revisit financial claims, then that party can ask the Court to consider and decide whether the terms of settlement reached before were fair and proper or whether he/she should have the freedom of seeking additional claims.
When considering the matter, the Court will have regard to the Deed of Separation as one of the factors that it will take into account when considering a claim for financial remedies.
Please refer to the page on Financial Arrangements on Divorce & Dissolution of Civil Partnership where I have highlighted the factors that the Court will take into account when considering such claims by either of you against each other.
If you wish to book in an assessment meeting, to allow me to help you reach your own agreements on the terms of your separation, please contact me with details and my assistant will call you to arrange an appointment and clarify the costs involved if you are not eligible for legal aid.