What is a Separation Agreement?

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A Separation Agreement is a mechanism by which a married couple can become separated without the necessity of them going through the Family Law Courts. It is a legally binding contract entered into by the parties setting out each party’s rights and obligations to the other.  It can often be a less expense and quicker way of becoming separated, than obtaining a Judicial Separation through the Courts.

Once both party’s reach an agreement, a legally binding contract is drawn up, known as a Deed of Separation. The main issues dealt with in a Separation Agreement are as follows:

  1. An agreement that both parts will live separate and apart
  2. The occupation and ownership of the family home
  3. Arrangements with respect to the custody and access of any children
  4. Maintenance and lump sum payments
  5. Taxation
  6. Succession Rights

A Separation Agreement can be made a Rule of Court by an application to the Court. This ensures that all the terms agreed upon can be legally enforced where covered by appropriate legislation.

It is important to note that a Separation Agreement cannot make Pension Adjustment Orders and the Trustees of Pension Schemes are not bound by the terms of a Deed of Separation. Therefore if one or both of the parties have a pension, it will be necessary to obtain a Judicial Separation from the Courts.

Once parties have entered into a formal Deed of Separation, they are not entitled to issue Proceedings through the Family Law Courts for a Decree of Judicial Separation. However obtaining a Deed of Separation is not a bar on the parties obtaining a Divorce at a later date.


For further information on Separation Agreements or indeed any aspect of Family Law, please do not hesitate to contact Hanahoe and Hanahoe solicitors on 045 897784 or at info@hanahoeandhanahoe.com.


This article is merely for information purposes only and is not and should not be taken as legal advice. If you have any queries in relation to this or any other Family Law matter, you should consult with a solicitor who specialises in Family Law. No solicitor/client relationship or duty of care or liability of any nature exists between you and Hanahoe and Hanahoe solicitors, until you receive written confirmation that we are acting as solicitors on your behalf.

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