How To Get A Separation Agreement
To get an agreement with someone, you need to negotiate, and to negotiate successfully, you need to know what you want and what you are prepared to give up. Before starting your negotiations, you should think about what is important to you, whether that is keeping the family home for property settlements or spending weekends with your children for parenting disputes. You need to think about what is the least you are prepare to settle for and what is absolute best case scenario for you start at the top with your proposal, and work your way down.
You should get some information about what you would likely be entitled to for financial settlement, before you start negotiating (have a look at our article, How to split assets after separation for some ideas).
You need to make a proposal to the other party about how you would like to settle your dispute. You can use a lawyer to do this, or attempt to negotiate yourself. You should outline what your contributions were to the relationship, or to parenting, and what you believe the other party's contributions were. This helps both sides to understand why the other party is making this proposal. It is helpful to keep things amicable if you want to reach a separation agreement outside of court when things start to get personal, it can make it difficult to focus on the end goal of reaching a resolution to the dispute.
It is important that you speak with a good family solicitor at least once to ensure that the agreement you have reached is fair for you. Even if you do not wish to engage a lawyer to draft your agreement, you should have one consultation with a separation solicitor so you can be sure that you and your family's best interests are looked after. Once you have a binding order, there are only limited reasons it can be varied such as fraud or by consent.
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Download the DIY Consent Order kit and follow the instructions. There are several requirements that you must address in your orders. For parenting orders, you need to outline parental responsbility, live with arrangements and contact arrangements for each parent. For property orders, you need to specifically deal with every asset and liability and how they will be divided amoung the parties. When drafting financial orders, you need to make sure that the division that you have agreed to is just and equitable or the court will not make the order.
If you wish to finalise your financial settlement by way of a Binding Financial Agreement, you will both need to obtain independent legal advice in relation to the agreement. BFAs can be a tricky area of law so you need to make sure you find a lawyer who has experience with these types of agreements. Have a look at our article, What is a binding financial agreement? for more information on BFAs.
You will need to execute the documents and lodge them with your local Family Court registry along with the filing fee (unless you have a BFA as a separation agreement). The court will then take the time to read through what you have submitted and consider whether they are appropriate. They will then seal the orders and send them back to you. You will then need to action any actions that are contained in those orders.
We are Family Court solicitors who are experienced in providing divorce and separation legal advice in parenting and financial disputes. We have many years experience in court advocacy and dealing with matters involving complicated parenting disputes including matters that require several Family Reports.
Contact us for more information or to book a free legal advice session to find out your options.