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Voluntary agreements - questions

2 replies

Caughtinmiddle · 21/07/2012 08:48

Husband and I separated in March, he moved out and is renting. It is staying very civilised and we agreed lots of things early on. We have a spreadsheet going (which I keep updated) which sets out monthly contributions on both parts, and have developed a 'Memorandum of Understanding' which sets out arrangements. We are lucky in that we are both in good jobs, and the children are older - 18 & 16 - so they can make their own minds up on who they want to spend time with (they live with me).

We're going to do a Do It Yourself divorce and I have downloaded the paperwork from the Directgov web site and it seems quite straightforward.

My question relates to our Memorandum of Understanding - it's in effect a Voluntary Agreement. We've worked out pensions (he's not having mine, it's a rare final salary one), the house (will have to go on the market but we'll split proceeds 50/50), cars, access to kids and dog, maintenance (50/50 on the house and a share towards running costs that impact children), and what'll happen when/if they go to uni.

Is there anything else we need to add, and how legal is it? I think that we're both honorable, and once the house is gone, there won't be much obligation on either part. He has a solicitor friend who says we also need to incorporate anything that might happen in the future - lottery winnings, parental inheritance, one of us loosing our jobs or getting a much better one.

If we add in the extra bits (and is there anything else to add to the list), could we just sign it and get it witnessed? Is it too much of a risk to leave it between the two of us? Should we have a Consent Order (I think that's what it is called)? We're trying to keep consultation with solicitors out of it as we don't want to complicate matters, or aggravate what is currently very amicable.

(It's a shame that we're getting on better now, both sets of parents do wonder why we're doing it, but I couldn't live with him any more, nor he with me, but that's another story...)

OP posts:
purplewithred · 21/07/2012 08:58

We had a separation agreement in place for 6 years before divorcing, but we did take legal advice on the contents of the agreement. For example, my solicitor advised that our local courts would not sanction a divorce that didn't leave an opening for spousal maintenance (for lottery wins, disablement etc etc) while we had dependent children, so we added £1 per annum to each other. If we hadn't done that it might have been thrown back by the court at the time of divorce. It also included all our financial information and details on who was getting what.

The agreement was signed by both of us on every page and witnessed by someone independent. It's now been accepted by the court and our divorce is nearly absolute.

Collaborate · 21/07/2012 10:25

OP - in your situation you should get a consent order drawn up. It should only cost around £500 for a solicitor to draw one up for you and take it to court. The agreement isn't binding until a consent order is made.

I'm a bit Shock at the advice to make provision for in case one of you wins the lottery. That is wrong. You need a clean break order, so you go your seperate ways. If one of you wins the lottery, or loses a job, that's life. As for inheritance - I'm willing to lay money on the solicitor who said this not specialising in this kind of work (unless they mean that you need the clean break to ensure that these future events don't give rise to a claim).

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