Expert help with separation agreements
At Johnson Legal Family Law we understand that the end of a relationship is a very emotional and upsetting experience and agreeing practical and financial arrangements at this time can be a real challenge.
However difficult, we always encourage our clients to enter into a Separation or Minute of Agreement, a legally binding contract which records a negotiated settlement on pretty much everything that is important to you. Johnson Legal Family Law is here to support you to agree on issues such as care of your children, transfer or sale of property and financial assistance for you and/or your children. A negotiated agreement like this is almost always cheaper and very much less stressful than arguing about matters in Court.
Under Scottish Law, the net value of assets owned by you individually, or together with each other or any third party, are divided equally between you. Occasionally individual circumstances result in an unequal division in one party’s favour – for example, one party may have given up a career to look after children, and as a consequence is financially disadvantaged.
In certain instances, inherited wealth or gifts from third parties, acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage are allowed to be “discounted out” from the matrimonial pot, before division.
If you have a family business together, you need to consider matters such as how the business will survive. Is it possible for one party to buy the other’s share and at what price? We can advise you about a range of issues including tax, employment and succession rights.
Separation Agreements also include what would happen on either party’s death. Our specialised lawyers at Johnson Legal can help you make or change your Will, or review of your Power of Attorney and pension nominations, to avoid your ex gaining any financial benefit as a consequence of your death.
All these important matters together with who keeps the car, the timeshare or the three piece suite can be included in a Separation Agreement which, when it is signed, is enforceable in law.
We can also agree who raises a divorce, which grounds and if the fees are to be shared.
When you have a Minute of Agreement signed you can proceed with a divorce or dissolution on an undefended basis because any points of conflict are agreed. The fees for a divorce or dissolution are therefore considerably less. Most of our clients do agree matters and it is unusual to have to litigate.
How much will it cost?
We offer bespoke Separation Agreements which are drafted to reflect your personal circumstances. It is our experience that fixed price packages for Separation Agreements rarely result in good value for money for our clients. Instead, we offer a one hour fixed-fee meeting for £250 (including VAT) where one of our experienced family law solicitors will meet with you to offer personalised advice. We will then provide you with a quote for further advice or legal work which we would tailor to your situation.
As a first step we offer a free 10 minute telephone call with one of our solicitors so please call 0131 622 8477 to discuss how we can help.
Frequently asked questions to consider before getting a separation agreement…
Yes. But only in relation to certain parts. For example matters to do with the children or any alimentary payment. The amount of a capital sum, or a transfer of property cannot usually be changed. There will be what we refer to as “a material change in circumstances” clause that will allow certain changes to be made, but not to the overall capital financial division.
You will sign a principal Agreement with your spouse/civil partner. The original is sent to a public register known at the Books of Council & Session. You will each obtain an official Extract copy which you can rely upon should you require to do so. In the event that you do not wish the document to be published in the Books of Council & Session then you can sign two principal documents, one for each of you. An undertaking not to register the agreement unless in certain circumstances can be given by each to the other to that effect. We are happy to guide you on this.
You can agree almost any matter between you and your spouse/civil partner in a Separation Agreement.
Yes. If you have signed an Agreement, you will either pursue an undefended divorce action or any action already in Court will then become undefended saving huge costs.
Wise words from Beverley…
“Divorce is the last thing that we should consider at the outset of our business relationship. We always try to negotiate a Separation Agreement covering everything from children to the house to spousal maintenance and a capital sum, to ensure that your money is best used to achieve an agreement that works for you without the highly emotive polarising situation as not to mention the huge expense, that couples find themselves enmeshed in a defended Court action. Sometimes that has to happen but it is rare.”
We can help you right now
Our commitment to provide you with the best possible advice includes a free initial phone call with one of our experts. This allows us to fully prepare for your first meeting which we always offer at a fixed fee rate.
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Here to help in a full range of family legal matters…
A stitch in time – consider investing in an agreement to reflect what you both want to happen financially, should your relationship come to an end.
Sort it without court costs – these contracts regulate your separation. From your children to financial matters, these allow you to proceed to an undefended divorce.
Sometimes you need smart experienced lawyers to guide you through the complex legal system to help you deal with the end of your marriage, and to ensure a fair division of all matrimonial property.
Your children are your absolute priority so they are our priority too. We can work hard to help you in all disputes about Parental Rights and Responsibilities including residence and contact.
The law offers limited protection for cohabitees, governed by strict rules. We can make sure you receive a fair deal at the end of your relationship.
At your most vulnerable, we will make sure you and your family is protected.