Separation: How to get by in times of uncertainty

Relationships can be tested at the best of times. But having to co-exist in a “bubble” with potentially a great deal of stress and uncertainty, and limited options for time out, can place a huge pressure on many relationships.

And with such a significant change in the economic climate, you may be wondering where you stand should you decide to end a relationship.

The Property (Relationships) Act 1976 sets out how property is to be divided at the end of a relationship.

It outlines what is relationship property, what is the separate property of each party, and whether adjustments need to be made in favour of either party.

When people separate, they often enter into an agreement to record how property is divided. And for this to be legally binding, each party requires independent legal advice. This is because it is important you know what your rights and obligations are before your property is divided.

For some, there may be trusts or companies involved which need to be factored in and you need to fully understand how the law applies to your situation, particularly as the values of a trust or a company’s interests may have been affected by recent events.

If there is a home involved which one party wishes to retain, most banks will require a binding agreement signed by both parties along with their lawyers as part of the finance approval.

What if you wish to finalise a relationship property settlement and there are still restrictions in place which prevent you from physically meeting with your lawyer?

There are instances when a lawyer may be prepared to advise and witness you sign an agreement remotely, for example, using Skype or Zoom. However, you will need to discuss with your lawyer the pros and cons of doing so, what requirements your lawyer may have, and you will also need to obtain the consent of the other party and their lawyer to proceed on that basis.

Despite current restrictions, it is still possible to seek legal advice about where you stand and in such times of uncertainty, it pays to have as much information as possible when making such decisions. Our team are available to assist you throughout this challenging time.