Make a separation agreement

Last updated: 18 April 2017

If you and your ex-partner are separating or divorcing, 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.

A separation agreement is a legally-binding document that sets out what you and your ex-partner agree on. It can be enforced in the same way as a court order, and covers things like:

  • who pays the mortgage or rent and any bills
  • who lives in the family home and what happens if it's sold
  • what happens to any debts, like loans or credit cards
  • what happens to savings, ISAs or any other type of savings
  • what happens to things like cars or other things you might have bought together
  • whether payments are made by one of you to support any children
  • who looks after your children

How to make a separation agreement

If you want to make a separation agreement you can use a solicitor to draw up formal papers, called a 'minute of agreement'. These set out what you agree with your partner. The solicitor will register these with the Books of Council and Session.

How to reduce costs

You can help to reduce what you pay a solicitor by writing down, in detail, the things you agree with each other and giving them to your solicitor.

These things include:

  • how you will split money and things you own
  • what bills each of you will pay
  • how you will look after your children

Solicitors charge for time and writing down what you agree should help make it quicker for them to sort out your separation agreement.

Help if you can't agree with your partner

If you can't agree with your partner you can get help from a mediator before you see a solicitor. A mediator can help you talk about things to help you both agree what's fair.

You can also get free advice from Citizens Advice if you have any questions about making a separation agreement or splitting up with your partner.