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What Is A Separation Agreement?

February 2, 2022 Family Law

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Separation agreements

A Separation Agreement, formally known as a Minute of Agreement, stands as a pivotal legal instrument binding separating couples who have parted ways. This formal contract delineates the framework through which financial matters arising from the legal separation are to be addressed and resolved.

If you and your ex-partner are separating or divorcing from marriage or civil partnership, you might want to get a separation agreement drawn up. Separation agreements are different to ‘legal separations’ or ‘judicial separations’ which are used by people who might not want to divorce or dissolve their civil partnership for religious reasons.

By entering into a Minute of Agreement, parties proactively establish a structured approach to resolving financial disputes, thereby averting the necessity of resorting to judicial intervention for adjudication.

This strategic step not only facilitates a smoother and more expedient resolution process but also affords both parties greater autonomy and control over the outcome, fostering a sense of empowerment and mutual cooperation in navigating the complexities of separation and separation agreements.

Minute of agreement

A Minute of Agreement is registered at the Registers of Scotland in Edinburgh and, after that has been done, carries the same force as a court order and can be enforced in a similar way.

After a Minute of Agreement has been entered into by two parties it is difficult for that to be altered at a later date, unless both parties involved agree to making amendments.

The separation agreement must be entered into at your own free will and you must have completed a full financial disclosure if you are relying on a separation agreement in court. That it is a full and final agreement that both parties accept.

A Minute of Agreement can be challenged on the basis that it was not fair or reasonable at the time it was entered into, but the onus is on the party who wishes to have such an Agreement set aside persuading the court that this is the case. 

Setting aside a Minute of Agreement on the basis that it was not fair or reasonable at the time it was entered into is not easy as courts attach significant weight to fair Agreement entered into between parties.

Independent Legal advice is not required, but it is certainly wise to obtain such advice, particularly if one party is in a better financial position or if a separation is acrimonious. 

Family Solicitors will be able to advise of issues that should be taken into account and how matrimonial property is divided given the different circumstances of each situation.

There are also various clauses that require to be included within a written Minute of Agreement to ensure that they are legally binding and enforceable and that a client is adequately protected.


In conclusion, a separation agreement is a legally binding document that outlines the financial and practical arrangements between separating couples. Seeking independent legal advice ensures that both parties fully understand their rights and obligations before entering into such an agreement.

Through full financial disclosure and negotiation, parties can reach a fair agreement that addresses issues such as division of assets, maintenance payments, and child arrangements. While not a final agreement like a consent order in divorce proceedings, a separation agreement can provide clarity and security during the separation process. It is essential for both parties to enter into the agreement voluntarily and with full understanding of its implications. Whether dissolving a marriage or civil partnership, separation agreements offer a way for parties to resolve their differences and move forward with their lives while preserving their rights and interests.

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If you are looking to seek legal advice for a family law matter, please contact one of our legal expert at Jones Whyte Family Department on 0141 736 0011 or via the online.

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