Separation agreements & Orders

When you separate, you can work together on a separation agreement or you can ask the Family Court for a Separation Order.

Separation agreement

A separation agreement can help avoid misunderstandings about what you and your ex-partner have agreed.

Your separation agreement can help you be clear about when your relationship ended (this can help prove you’ve been separated for 2 years or more if you want a divorce). It can also sort out what you’re both still responsible for even though you’ve separated, like:

  • caring for any children
  • paying a mortgage
  • looking after pets
  • dividing property (if your separation agreement covers how you will divide property, a lawyer must sign a document to say that each of you has received independent legal advice).

Separation Order

If you want to be clear about when you separated, or one of you wants to separate and the other doesn’t, you can ask the Family Court to make a Separation Order. A Separation Order is a legal declaration that you separated at a particular date and do not have to live together. A Separation Order doesn’t cover care of children or relationship property.

Find out more about applying for a Separation Order when you both agree to separate

Find out more about applying for a Separation Order when you don’t agree to separate

If there is a Separation Order in place and 1 person dies without leaving a will, the surviving partner loses the right to inherit under the rules that apply when there is no will.

Caring for children

If you can’t agree about how you will care for your children, Parenting Through Separation courses and Family Dispute Resolution mediation could help you work out your own arrangements without going to the Family Court. If you still can’t agree after going through the course and mediation, you can go to the Family Court to get a decision made.

Find out more about when you don’t agree on how to care for your children

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