A formal separation agreement (also known as a ‘minute of agreement’) is a legally binding document that sets out what a separating couple has agreed.
Provided it’s registered, it carries the same legal weight as a court order – which is where the courts say how a couple should divide their property and assets – and can be enforced in the same way.
This means it can be used by couples who separate but who don’t want to divorce or dissolve their civil partnership.
It can cover a range of areas, including:
- who pays the mortgage or rent, and household bills
- what happens to any debts, such as loans or overdrafts
- what happens to savings, investments and other financial assets
- who continues to live in the family home and/or what happens if it’s sold
- what happens to items such as cars or furniture, especially bought jointly
- whether payments are made to support one of you and/or any children
- childcare arrangements – who any children live with, and parental access.