We’ve just separated – what are the next steps?

We’ve just separated – what are the next steps?

When a couple first separate, it can be difficult to know where to start and what arrangements need to be made between you moving forwards. It is always preferable to try and negotiate arrangements between yourselves if the relationship is still an amicable one. If you do think that you might be in a position to discuss matters with your former partner or spouse, the below list is a good starting point of the top 5 topics you may wish to discuss. It applies to both married and unmarried couples.

  1. Children

If you have children with your partner then the most important consideration should be deciding on arrangements for them, including, where appropriate, agreeing the level of time which your children will spend with each parent. When parties separate and one leaves the family home, it is likely that child maintenance will become payable. You can check the amount payable on the Government website.

  1. The Family Home

This is the often the most difficult topic for separating parties to discuss – what will happen to the family home. You may wish to consider the following:

  • Who will reside in the family home?
  • The importance of any children of the family remaining in the family home
  • Payment of the mortgage and other outgoings on a short-term and long-term basis
  • Should the property be sold, or does one party have the available finances to buy out the other’s interest?
  1. Income

On separation, you may struggle to meet your outgoings where you are now only relying on one income stream rather than two. For married couples, you may wish to consider whether it is appropriate for one party to pay an element of maintenance to the other. For unmarried clients, child maintenance may be a consideration. For more details, read my previous article about maximising your income following a separation.

  1. Future Planning

If you were a married couple, you may wish to consider any pension assets you have which have accrued during the marriage. Couples may also wish to consider making a new Will following a separation or changing the way how property is owned.

  1. Documenting Your Agreement

It is always good to document any agreement reached to ensure that disagreements do not arise further down the line. For married couples, it is vital that any agreement reached with regards to finances is drawn up into an order and lodged with the court (known as a consent order). For unmarried couples, a separation agreement can be drawn up detailing all the arrangements arising from your separation.

How we can help you

Regardless of your circumstances, our team of experts can assist you in reaching an agreement and drawing up the agreement reached into a document for you both to sign. You can consult us at any stage of your separation. If you would like advice and support regarding your separation, contact our Family Law team today on 0330 0945 500, email family@nevesllp.co.uk or complete our Online Contact Form and we'll get back to you.