Divorce and Separation

Separation and Maintenance Agreements

A separation or a maintenance agreement can be drafted in the circumstances where the parties do not yet wish to divorce but want to record their financial separation.  Separation agreements specify that the parties wish to live apart and include all issues such as any future divorce and how this would be commenced as well as children, property and maintenance.  Maintenance agreements are limited to the payment of maintenance for the benefit of a spouse, civil partner or children.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Agreements can be flexible to address the specific needs of the parties.
  • The parties remain in control of the process which can help to continue good relations.
  • As this agreement is drawn up by consent, costs can be saved without the requirement to go to Court.
  • The parties cannot exclude the jurisdiction of the Court and so the agreement is not final although it would be given great weight by the Court.  As in any contract, enforcement procedures can be complicated and costly.
  • Maintenance Orders can be varied but if the agreement falls outside the exception then variation can only occur by consent.
  • The agreement may carry no weight if by the time it is incorporated into an order in divorce, the parties’ financial positions have altered considerably, i.e. if a party to the marriage has been affected by say an injury and can no longer work.