If as a married couple or civil partners you decide that you do not want to live together anymore, at some point you will need to sort out who gets what, both in terms of finances and possessions. If you can do this early on and make a formal, written agreement, it can save a lot of problems later on.
In England and Wales, if you have been married or in a civil partnership for less than a year, you can’t divorce or dissolve the civil partnership yet; a separation agreement just sets out clearly the arrangements you have agreed upon.
While you can get a divorce within the first year of your marriage in Scotland a separation agreement (also known as a ‘minute of agreement’ in Scotland) is still a good place to start sorting out your arrangements before actually divorcing.
You may not want to divorce or dissolve the partnership yet but need a more formal arrangement until you make that final decision. A Separation agreement gives you security and flexibility without having to go to court.
To divorce or dissolve the partnership in the easiest possible way will probably mean that you will be divorcing or dissolving the partnership on the basis that you have been apart for two years and you both consent (in England and Wales) or on the basis that you have been apart for one year and you both consent (in Scotland). Set out how you want to divide your money and possessions now and avoid a fight in the future. For more information, read Grounds for divorce and Grounds for divorce in Scotland.