Shared Parenting Information Group (SPIG) UK
- promoting responsible shared parenting after separation and divorce -
Couples who are separating or divorcing can avoid a great deal of animosity by reaching agreement about their responsibilities to each other and to their children with the aid of a mediation service rather than going to court.
The outcome of such discussions is often a voluntary agreement which can be subsequently be formalised into a Deed of Separation, thus allowing the couple to lead independent lives. This is particularly useful if there is no immediate wish to divorce.
Separation Agreements, like Parenting Plans are growing in popularity, and Colorado State Law refers to them as follows:
To promote the amicable settlement of disputes between the parties to a marriage attendant upon their separation or the dissolution of their marriage, the parties may enter into a written separation agreement containing provisions for the maintenance of either of them, the disposition of any property owned by either of them, and the custody, support, and parenting time of their children. [Colorado: 14-10-112 (1)]
The main features of an agreement are:
- Identification of the parties - the names and addresses of the adults, and the names and dates of birth of the children
- Confirmation of legal advice - confirming that that the parties have had independent legal advice in the drawing up of this agreement
- Acknowledgement - that the marriage/relationship has irretrievably broken down, but avoiding any statement of blame
- A clause of forgiveness - this is of particular importance, as it states that the husband and wife absolutely forgive and release any matrimonial offence or cause of complaint - thus placing a bar on further reference to past actions. Essentially it is a commitment to make the deed of separation work.
- A residence plan - the residential arrangements - who will live where (and when)
- A contact* plan - defining exactly what contact each child will have, and with whom throughout the year. It should also contain arrangements for making up any contact lost by illness or other reasons.
- An education plan - involving both parents, agreeing that each will receive regular reports about the children's progress and copies of items sent to all parents, and that no objection will be raised to either parent attending school functions
- A non-relocation clause - a statement that in the interests of the children, neither adult will move away without the consent of the other, and that the adult who moves away shall bear all the costs of future contact.
- Details of the financial settlement - details of any lump sums and transfer of possessions.
- Covenants - by each party and agreements that they will support and maintain themselves and maintain the child when the child is living with them
- Sundry agreements - covering inheritance etc
Note: * contact = visitation / access
Sample Separation Agreement
Last updated - 6 December 1998
Grateful thanks to Henry Hodgins of the Association for Shared Parenting (UK) for details of the agreement he and his wife reached which allowed them to be actively involved in the upbringing of their daughter while living separately.
SPIG Home Page