Higgins Miller offers specialist family law advice in the North West of the UK and beyond. We deal with issues such as adoption, children disputes and wills and probate. What many of these matters have in common is that they involve events which are deeply stressful at the best of times, even before any legal action has to be taken. We understand just how difficult it can be to deal with complex legal issues at the same time as coming to terms with emotional upheaval, and so we blend practical advice with complete support for our clients. That’s just one reason why we’re the best people to contact if you need solicitors advice on separation.
Solicitor’s advice on separation is different from the advice provided to couples who are getting divorced, but the key principles remain the same. The most important aspect of the process is that each partner takes decisions based on a full understanding of their rights and their responsibilities, and that any decisions regarding the children of a couple are taken with the welfare of the children themselves at the forefront of everyone’s thinking. Although, as a couple, you may feel that you have been able to reach an amicable form of the split, it is still imperative that you seek solicitors advice on separation, since the decisions taken when a relationship ends may have emotional and financial ramifications which last for many years to come.
If the relationship in question is a marriage or civil partnership, it may be presumed that the answer to the relationship breaking down is a divorce, but many couples prefer to go through a separation first. If you seek solicitor’s advice on separation from us then we’ll often help to draw up a separation agreement. Although such an agreement won’t be legally binding on its own, when drawn up by experts it could form the basis of a consent order if and when a separation is formalised as a divorce. The fact that a separation agreement covering aspects such as child welfare, the division of assets and financial responsibilities can help to speed up the divorce process – lowering costs at the same time – is just one reason why some couples prefer to take this option.
Another appeal of a legal separation is that it enables a couple to formalise the details of their separation if they don’t want to call on one of the standard grounds for divorce. This usually entails one partner claiming that the other has behaved unreasonably or committed adultery, or both partners living apart for at least 2.5 years. If the parties haven’t been living apart, and don’t wish to accuse each other in this manner, a separation agreement can provide the ideal interim solution. The same applies if the couple has been together for less than 12 months, in which case they can’t yet start divorce proceedings.
No matter what the reasons for choosing separation rather than divorce are, a solicitor’s advice on separation will prove to be invaluable if you wish to reach a voluntary agreement which is fair to both partners. The issues which can be included in a separation agreement of this kind include the following:
Children – which partner the children will live with, whether maintenance payments will be made and, if so, by whom, and how access to the children will be organised for the parent they don’t live with.
Financial Obligations – how the responsibility of paying on-going financial obligations such as mortgage or rent payments will be divided.
Property – how any property, particularly the family home, will be dealt with. Who will live there, or will it be sold? The same questions will apply to investment or commercial properties.
Debts and savings – who will be responsible for clearing any joint debts and how will savings or other investments be divided or managed following the separation?
The same principles apply to property such as furniture, artwork and motor vehicles, as well as family pets. On the face of things, as long as a separation is fairly amicable, then coming to an agreement of this kind might seem fairly straightforward. The truth of the matter, however, is that you should always seek a solicitor’s advice on separation in order to ensure that you have a full understanding of what the assets of the relationship are, that you know exactly how much your partners income is and that you know about and understand the rules and benefits of any pensions schemes. An agreement which is based on a misunderstanding of these or any other aspects of your relationship could have a negative impact on your life for many years to come.
If you want to seek a solicitors advice on separation then 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 provide your first appointment with us for a fixed fee, so you don’t have to worry about how much our advice is going to cost. This initial contact can ensure that you understand what separation entails and how much thought you need to put into any negotiated agreement, enabling you to move forward with confidence. If you want to explore our wider charging system then please take a look here.