A “Minute of Agreement” or “Separation Agreement” is the name given to the contract drawn up by your lawyers which, once signed by both you and your former partner, will narrate the agreement reached in relation to all (or some) of the issues arising from your separation. For further information on what can be contained within a minute of agreement, please click here.
Once signed and registered within the Books of Council and Session, a minute of agreement is a legally binding document which, generally speaking, is enforceable.
Where you reach an agreement regarding your financial separation and record this in a minute of agreement then this is binding and can only be overturned in exceptional circumstances. It is extremely important therefore that you are satisfied with the agreement reached before you sign anything. It is always advisable to obtain legal advice prior to doing so. Seeking to overturn a minute of agreement is an extremely high test and should be avoided where possible by ensuring that you are certain that the agreement reached is fair and reasonable. If, after signing the agreement, the other party refuses to implement the terms, then you are able to raise court proceedings to enforce this. Should you require to do so, you can also seek the expenses of raising the action against the other party.
Where parties reach an agreement regarding the care arrangements of their children, this is not necessarily enforceable in the same way as the financial terms. If the other party refuses to adhere to the agreement reached regarding the children, you can raise a court action for residence/contact. Given that the needs and circumstances of children can change over time, the Court will not necessarily impose the arrangement which was reflected within the minute of agreement. The Court will require to consider the circumstances at that time and consider what is in the child’s best interests. This may be different from what you both agreed within your Minute of Agreement. The terms of the minute of agreement can be produced however and are persuasive to the court. It provides a good outline of the care arrangements which both parties felt were best for the children at the time of signature. Arguably, the more recent the minute of agreement was signed, the more persuasive it may be to the Court.
If you require further advice regarding enforcement of agreements, please contact our office where a member of our experienced family team will be happy to assist.
Livingstone Brown is a leading firm of Scottish solicitors. Based in Glasgow, but dealing with cases around the country, the firm has been at the forefront of legal service provision for over thirty years.
If you have a legal problem, getting good quality legal information at the earliest stage can be invaluable. The firm offers a free initial enquiry service; all you have to do is call in, telephone, or e-mail. You won't be charged for your enquiry; we'll let you know by return whether we can help, what we can do, and how much it's likely to cost. We can also offer legal aid where available.
Led by former senior partner Gerard Brown CBE, who continues as a consultant, the firm has built up an enviable reputation for quality of service and client care.
The firm has won various awards over the years. In the 2019 edition of the prestigious Legal 500 rankings Livingstone Brown was ranked as a 'top-tier' firm for general criminal work, and is also recommended for fraud cases. Stuart Munro and Gerard Brown were named as 'Recommended Lawyers'. In the Chambers directory the firm has a Band 1 ranking for criminal work, and Stuart Munro is a ranked financial crime lawyer. The firm was named Criminal Defence Firm of the Year and Family Law Team of the Year at the Scottish Legal Awards 2019.