Here at Higgins Miller, we deal with issues of family law such as divorce, adoption and wills and probate. We work with people facing highly stressful circumstances and offer a combination of legal advice and robust, practical emotional support. A key part of our job involves spotting the latest trends in family law and responding to changes in the demands placed on us, which is why we’re aware of a rise in the number of clients needing to draw up a separation agreement in 2022, due to the fact that more couples than ever are living together rather than getting married. When a married couple decides to divorce, the requirement for legal advice is often fairly obvious, but cohabiting couples frequently have as many issues to settle, and this is why a separation agreement in 2022 can be so important.
The number of couples choosing to live together without getting married has risen steadily over the last couple of decades. According to figures published in the House of Commons library, the number of couples cohabiting rather than getting married rose from 1.5 million in 1996 to approximately 3.5 million in 2020, an increase of 137%. By 2020, 18% of couples that lived under the same roof were opting to cohabit rather than get married or enter a civil partnership. When couples like this decide to separate, they can often find themselves dealing with complicated issues such as dividing financial affairs which have become entwined, up to and including factors such as jointly owned properties and businesses and joint bank accounts. A separation agreement 2022 is a legal document which sets out the terms under which these assets will be divided. Although it can be agreed between the two parties if the split is amicable, many separations are less than amicable, or become more difficult as the process develops. For this reason it is always best to seek legal advice when drawing up a separation agreement 2022 to ensure that the document in question is fair to both parties, and will stand up in court if a legal challenge is ever launched.
In simple terms, the separation agreement is a document which is drawn up when a relationship ends, setting out the arrangements the parties want to make regarding aspects of the relationship such as finance, children and property. Although some married couples might opt to draw up a separation agreement 2022 before finalizing terms for a divorce, it is particularly useful for cohabiting couples who are not protected by the law in the way that married couples or those in a civil partnership are.
Although a separation agreement 2022 isn’t legally binding technically speaking, it is still a formal legal document if it has been drawn up properly by legal professionals. Although it isn’t a court order as the courts have not been involved in creating it in the majority of cases, it can still be challenged in court like any other contract. The possibility of a future challenge to terms agreed at the time of separation is just one more reason why a separation agreement 2022 should be drawn up with the help of one of our family law experts.
The actual contents of a separation agreement 2022 will differ from couple to couple, depending on their particular circumstances. In most cases, however, a separation agreement is likely to deal with the following:
The separation agreement could set out what will happen to any property shared by a couple. It might say whether the property should be sold or if it is to be used as a home by one partner – and possibly any children involved – until the point of a future sale. It should also set out how any proceeds from a sale would be divided, what will happen to those proceeds if either party dies before the property is sold, and also how other possessions and assets are to be divided.
A separation agreement 2022 will set out agreements that have been reached in terms of how things such as mortgage or rent will be paid in the future, as well as other costs such as loans and credit cards, utility bills (gas, electricity, water etc.) and maintenance bills for any property. It will also detail whether either partner has agreed to pay maintenance to the other.
Deciding what is best for the children of any relationship is often the most difficult aspect of dealing with a split. Creating a separation agreement 2022 can help to take the heat out of the situation, and set out agreements on issues such as which party the children will live with for the majority of the time, where they will live, how much time they will spend with the parent they don’t live with, which parent will receive any child benefit or child tax credit payments and how much maintenance one parent will pay to the other.
Although, as stated, a separation agreement is not legally binding, the details are unlikely to be challenged by a court providing the court accepts that both parties sought independent legal advice before entering into the agreement and that there was full financial disclosure from both parties (i.e. that neither party attempted to hide assets or an income source). The court may accept a challenge to a separation agreement if it feels that the circumstances for either party have altered considerably in the time since the agreement was entered into, thus making it unfair. In all cases, seeking the help of expert solicitors such as those at Higgins Miller when drawing up a separation agreement for 2022 will help to ensure that the agreement is fair to all parties and able to hold up if challenged.
If you want to find out more about drawing up a separation agreement for 2022 please call us on 0161 429 7251 or email us at [email protected] We’ve recently passed our Cyber Essential accreditation, something which demonstrates our forward-thinking attitude and determination to remain ahead of the competition. The first 20-minute appraisal is provided free of charge, and we’ll give you the first appointment for a fixed fee, so you don’t have to worry about how much our advice is going to cost. If you want to explore our wider charging system then please take a look here.