When a relationship breaks down it is inevitable that emotions will be running high, and it may be difficult to focus on future plans.
Whether parties are married or co-habiting, where there are children and/or assets, it is important to try and agree how the assets should be divided to enable both of you to move on and plan for your future.
Where assets are in joint names the division is usually more straight forward however where a property is in one person‘s name only, this can create difficulties and confusion with regard to what the other is entitled to.
Legal advice should be sought to ensure that you fully understand your entitlement, and the best course of action to take to get things resolved.
Where agreement cannot be reached married couples who divorce have the ability to apply to the Family Courts to determine the division of all matrimonial assets, and have a final Order to protect them in the future. Cohabiting couples do not have the same options, and if agreement cannot be reached about any family property an application can be made to the Civil Courts, however other assets such as savings, pensions and maintenance are not taken into account.
It is important that when an agreement has been reached that this is recorded in case there is disagreement in the future. Parties do not always want to rush into Divorce or Court proceedings but do want something setting out the agreement to give some reassurance.
A Separation Agreement can be prepared which will set out the terms of settlement, and also records the date of separation. It can refer to future intentions to divorce, where parties are married, and will show the parties agree that the terms are based on a full and final settlement basis. If divorce proceedings are issued in the future, the Court can be invited to make a clean break Consent Order in the same terms.
It should be noted that a Separation Agreement is not legally binding or enforceable, however it is advisable to have the document, as it sets out the intention of the parties when the Agreement was drawn up, and this can be used and considered in any future Court proceedings in relation to the relationship breakdown. Courts are not bound by it’s terms, but will take into account the intentions of the parties alongside any other evidence when reaching a final decision.
Waldrons offer advice with regard to all aspects of relationship breakdowns, and our family team will be happy to help and support you through this process.