A Separation Agreement is a formal legal document that sets out the terms of agreement reached by a married couple when deciding to live apart.
Both parties must consent to the terms of the agreement. The main issues dealt with in a Separation Agreement are usually as follows:
- Agreement to live apart
- Arrangements in relation to custody and access for children
- Indemnity from the debts of the other spouse
- Maintenance for the parties and children and any lump sum payments
- Occupation and ownership of the family home and any other property
- Succession Rights
The agreement is a legally binding contract setting out each party’s rights and obligations to the other. The terms of the agreement are usually reached through negotiation through solicitors and each party should have their own solicitor to ensure that they receive independent legal advice before signing any agreement.
The document which is drawn up and signed by both parties is often called a “Deed of Separation”. When the agreement is signed, it can be made a rule of court by making an application to the court. Making it a rule of court ensures that all the terms agreed upon regarding the children can be legally enforced where appropriate.
If agreement can be reached reasonably quickly between the parties and a Separation Agreement drawn up, it is cheaper and less stressful than taking a court case. Many couples use a Separation Agreement where they cannot divorce as they are not separated for the required amount of time and when they do not wish to have a Judicial Separation by court order.
Ken Heffernan, Family Law and Divorce Solicitor, is experienced in dealing with these issues and can apply the legal requirements set out below to your particular case to advise you appropriately for your circumstances whether you are in Cork or elsewhere in Ireland.