Separation Agreement – Do I need a lawyer

22 June 2021

Separation Agreement – Do I need a lawyer

Have you recently separated?  Are you thinking about separating? 

This article will outline the legal process after separation.

Many clients look to separate without a lawyer involved.  While things may be amicable, a separation agreement requires a lawyer’s involvement, to be valid and enforceable.   Even where you and your ex-partner have agreed how to divide property and manage the separation, we recommend that your agreement is recorded in a Separation Agreement under s21A of the Property (Relationship) Act 1976.  The benefit of a properly executed agreement is that it prevents either party changing their mind and starting proceedings against the other party.  In other words, it helps to protect you from future losses.

To draft an agreement that is valid and enforceable, the law requires each party to have independent legal advice.  Following the advice, each party must sign the document with a lawyer witnessing it, and each lawyer will certify the agreement,.  This shows that each party have been given independent legal advice, whether they choose to follow that advice or not, and that you have been made aware of your entitlements under the law. 

How do we decide how to split assets?

If the relationship has been a de facto relationship of more than 3 years, or akin to it, then there is a presumption of equal division under the Property (Relationships) Act 1976.  That means that the starting point is that assets, and liabilities (debts) are shared equally between partners.  There is then room for further entitlements which are dependent on the nature of the relationship.  There are complexities involved with further entitlements.  As an example, if one party have stayed at home to look after children of the relationship while the other party have made career advances, there could be an entitlement available for the party that stayed at home and was unable to work.  This is why it is crucial to have a lawyer involved with your separation and division of property. 

Our team of lawyers understand the complexities involved in separation and property division.  We will look at your situation as an individual, and assess the circumstances of the relationship to determine your entitlements under the law.  Every relationship is different, which is why every separation is different too.  Our friendly team will support you through the challenges that separations bring, and assist you in navigating the legal process that follows.

If you want to discuss your options following separation, then contact one of our friendly lawyers now.

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