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The Law on Separation Agreements
Separation agreements are a way of recording an agreement that a couple who are separating have reached. They can apply to both married and unmarried families. The benefit of a separation agreement is that this will be a clear record of what the parties have agreed and it would usually be on the basis that this would be in full and final settlement of all financial or domestic matters.
A separation agreement is not a court order so it can always be open to either party to seek further financial provision in a future divorce or under more limited options if the parties were unmarried. However the existence of the separation agreement is a very important factor that the court would have to take into consideration when determining such a claim.
If the agreement was fair and the parties have complied with certain formalities then the court will usually uphold such an agreement and dismiss any further financial claim. The agreement should be entered into without either party placing the other under duress or any inappropriate pressure particularly of a financial nature. There should be mutual and comprehensive financial disclosure between the parties of their respective assets and income. Both parties should take independent legal advice before entering into the agreement.
It is important to note that if there is a fundamental change of circumstances between the date of the agreement and the date of the subsequent divorce that this could give rise to a legitimate financial claim even if the separation agreement has otherwise been validly entered into.
How to fund a separation agreement
We offer fixed fee funding for separation agreements.
Fixed Fee – Separation Agreements
Our fees (including VAT)
1: If you have reached an agreement with your partner and wish us to prepare a Separation Agreement following breakdown of your relationship then we can offer a range of fixed fees depending on the complexity of the agreement
- For a simple agreement where there are no assets – £300.00 inclusive of VAT
- For an agreement involving a number of assets of significant value or with certain complicated features – £1,200.00 inclusive of VAT
- For an agreement involving complex provisions or multiple assets of high value – £2,400.00 inclusive of VAT
2: If you wish us to advise on an agreement prepared by your partner’s solicitors
- For a simple agreement where there are no assets – £120.00 inclusive of VAT
- For an agreement involving assets of moderate value or dealing with a number of commitments – £300.00 inclusive of VAT
- For an agreement involving a number of assets of significant value or with certain complicated features – £600.00 inclusive of VAT
- For an agreement involving complex provisions or multiple assets of high value – £1,200.00 inclusive of VAT
What the fees cover
The fixed fee covers our costs relating to work undertaken up to and including completion of a fully signed Separation Agreement and advising you of its contents and legal viability.
When are the costs payable?
Half of the fee is payable before we commence work on the agreement. The balance is payable on completion of the agreement.
The fee covers the costs of the preparation and completion of the agreement. If as a result of the agreement other legal work is required eg sale or transfer of property, closure of bank accounts, payment of lump sums through solicitors then this work will be charged additionally in accordance with our terms and conditions.
What work is not included
The fixed fee only applies if you have already reached an agreement with your partner. If you need us to represent you and negotiate an agreement with your partner’s solicitors then our charges are charged on an hourly rate basis (currently this firm’s hourly rates are from £216 to £270 inclusive of VAT).
- Once an agreement has been reached we can discuss with you if this is suitable for the fixed fee scheme.
If the matter becomes more complicated than first anticipated. This might cover the following situations:-
- Where documentary or valuation evidence is required in relation to you or your partner’s assets or income.
- The agreement requires considerable amendment because you and your partner decide to change the terms.
What happens if you do not proceed with a Separation Agreement
You may decide not to proceed with a Separation agreement. If you do not wish to proceed then we will charge on an hourly rate basis up to the value of the fixed fee (currently this Firm’s hourly rates are from £216 to £270 inclusive of VAT).