Legal Separation

Separation When Not Married

Couples are not always married. Sometimes a legal separation is needed. If co-habiting partners split up they need to consider a legal agreement when they have children and/or jointly owned assets (property or bank accounts). If you are married, please see our page on divorce.

No Children but Joint Assets

A partner can claim compensation and that assets are sold. It is also sometimes possible when an asset is purchased using funds that can be proved to have originated from the other party. There must always be proof. If there is a legal separation and no common children, then the claim against the other party does not go through the Family Courts. It would be a civil claim. Or if in agreement, a private agreement can be drawn up and assets divided by a division of joint tenancy.

Children In Common (Custody)

Firstly, this type of separation with children is very similar to a divorce with children. A legal agreement needs preparing and ratifying in Court. Maintenance for children is available and it will be considered where the children will live. Usually parents will have joint custody, unless there are reasons why one parent may be granted sole custody.

As with divorce the incomes of both parents will be taken into account for maintenance and which parent lives in the family home. A parent has to pay child maintenance until the children are at least 18. Possibly also to support them during university.

As stated previously usually shared custody is granted as viewed in the children’s best interests. Decisions and responsibility should be shared. One parent, for instance, cannot just decide to take the children abroad (holiday or to live). Not without gaining the agreement of the other parent.

Children and Assets in Common

Firstly, jurisdiction will be (as with divorce) generally where the children are living. The legal separation agreement will need to go through the Family Courts and is required to be obtained for many things, such as an application for “Familia Numerosa” (Large Family benefits). Again, as with divorce, there are two aspects, firstly the children and secondly the finances/assets.

Children are the most important issue and where they will live. Custody and responsibility will usually start on the basis of being shared. Income and assets of both parents will be considered by the lawyers when drawing up in the agreement and by the Judge who decides on the final agreement.

We can help with discussing and drawing up these types of agreement and the Family Court proceeding. Contact us if you have any queries or need any help in this respect.