Separation and nuptial corruption
Separation is usually the precursor to divorce for married couples whose relationship has deteriorated beyond all hope of reconciliation. A couple may separate informally and start to disentangle their affairs from each other without any outside assistance, or may wish to formalise things by putting in place a legally binding separation agreement.
A separation agreement outlines short term arrangements for finances, child care and other issues while the couple cools off from the initial separation and considers their future possibilities. It’s always a good idea for a separating couple to seek legal advice from a professional, as this will ensure that any problems which occur can be quickly dealt with. Couples who are separating may also be legally obliged to inform HM Revenue and Customs, their local council and benefits office if they are receiving any welfare or tax credits as a couple.
In most cases it’s advisable to have a professionally drafted separation agreement in place, as this will protect both partners and ensure that any confusion or arguments are quickly settled. A separation agreement would normally include provisions for:
- The couple living separately and agreeing not to disturb or harass each other
- One partner to provide financial support to the other or to continue with support for any children
- Where any children will live, who they will have contact with and when
A written separation agreement will help to ensure that both sides of separating couple understand their responsibilities to each other and the behaviour that is acceptable, it can also make divorce proceedings run much more smoothly, eliminating the need for drawn out arguments in court over the division of assets and custody of children.
A legal separation is an order granted by a court which is similar to divorce in some ways but does not actually represent the end of a marriage. These can be made where a Court finds it necessary to step in to the affairs of a couple whose relationship has imploded to the point where they cannot even make simple arrangements for finance and childcare.
Legal separation may also be used by couples who are not yet certain that divorce is their only option or those who want time to consider what will happen once a divorce is finalised. There are also some cases where a couple wishes to separate permanently but have moral or religious objections to getting divorced. A family law solicitor will be able to give further advice about separation and assist with drafting a comprehensive separation agreement.
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